A classic egg-shaped vase that has been made for three generations of Ben’s family, and, is one of the most popular forms that Ben Owen III enjoys creating. This form is heavily influenced by the Mei Peng style vases made early in Chinese clay culture. The addition of the melon lines is created while the clay is still wet on the potter's wheel. Measuring 16”w x 19”h.
Please Note: What appear to be white spots on the surface are reflections from photo lighting.
Ash glazes allow us to “let the kiln be the paintbrush” by relying on the wood-firing process as the glazing agent. Most pieces dedicated to Ash glazing are placed in the kiln with little to no glaze applied to the exterior. During the firing process, the wood is stirred occasionally in the firebox to give flight to the flakes of ash that are produced during the firing. Airborne ash flakes cling to the exposed areas of the pot and accumulate over time. As the kiln reaches 2300° Fahrenheit, the accumulated ashes begin to melt and form a natural glaze. When the wood-burning kiln is heated to over 2400 degrees Fahrenheit, the wood ash liquefies and runs down the side of the pot like honey. Ash may also be layered over other glazes. For example, when Ben was in college, he was introduced to a spraying technique using an air-driven spray gun that some potters use to build up layers of glazes on the clay surface. With some experimenting, he was able to create a variety of finishes using accents of 3 to 4 different colors. A glaze made from ash can be used as a top coating to blend or bleach the underlying colors. Some finishes are a base of an iron yellow with cobalt blue or copper green covering. Other colors of orange to silver can develop from the colors overlapping. No two pieces are exactly alike. Ben frequently places these in the wood kiln to accentuate the colors.
The Cobalt Blue glaze has been used by the Owen family for over four generations. Early salt glaze wares made in the late 1800s were decorated with a cobalt blue glaze over the grey salt finish. Over the past 50 years, Ben Owen Pottery has made some cobalt-glazed pieces using a uniform coating of the glaze on the surface of the pots. Today, Ben uses a glaze similar to the older, original glaze. This newer Cobalt Blue is glossy and reveals a depth to the finish. Sometimes, Cobalt Blue is used to accentuate pieces that are fired in the wood kiln. These are called multi-layered glazes.
The Yellow Matte Glaze was created with the intention of designing a smooth, “soft” surface on the pots that would be a change from the glossy finishes typical in the Owen family of glazes. From looking at surfaces created during the wood firing process, Ben wanted to recreate a similar surface but with the option to make it uniform or add an accent by spraying on the clay surface. The yellow pigment is made from iron oxide and the matte finish is created from the use of magnesium and strontium in the glaze.
This piece is hand-signed by Ben Owen III with the year made (2022).