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copper reds - comments from a scientist emeritus

updated thu 15 oct 98


Jeff Lawrence on wed 14 oct 98

Bill Aycock writes:
>If this type of thing turns you on (as it probably does him) fine- if you
>just want to make good pots and glazes, take advantage of what he says, if
>it is a suggestion about a practical method, but dont worry about the exact
>sequence of the break-up of a propane molecule. The molecule doesn't care
>what you think is happening.

FYI, here's Ray's disclaimer:
>>However, I hope everyone recognizes the fact that I have never glazed a
pot. I have made lots of primitive ceramics, attempting to reproduce
specific wares in archaeology, but I've never even tried a Rio Grande Glaze.
The ideas don't rate the term "hypothesis" yet; they're more like "fancies."
Man --- I don't even know from slip.


You are technically astute, based on your posts of the past. Which makes
your comments somewhat surprising. Oversimplification is traditionally the
pitfall of luddites, not of inquiring minds.

E.g. "Making the kiln smoke like a freight train." is a straightforward,
simple, practical method that produces reduction a good bit of the time,
though a better understanding of reduction saves fuel and gets more
consistent results. But the understandingis undeniably more complicated.

The mechanism whereby metals volatilize out of glazes seems worth
understanding to me. In my books, it is usually presented as a credo, not as
process. Ray's account of reactive radicals makes sense to me and accounts
for some of the things I see happening.

My assessment of the clayart population is a little different than yours. I
don't think I'm alone -- based on the other comments Rays comments generated
in private postings -- in enjoying the learning equally with the making of
pots. Maybe if my pots were better, things would be a different. But as it
is, I'll take Ray's fresh inquiring approach, even if I still don't know
what furfural is, over self-imposed blinders every day of the week.