This Combed Cup in Ash, Pumpkin, & Yellow Matte is a perfect example of “letting the kiln be the paintbrush”. The pigment blended with the naturally formed glaze from the melting wood ash during the kiln firing creates a completely individualized piece. Dishwasher & Microwave safe. Measuring 3.5”w x 3.75”h.
Please Note: What appear to be white spots on the surface are reflections from photo lighting.
You can find the traditional forms and shapes of Ben Owen Sr. pottery wares in The Tableware Collection at Ben Owen lll Pottery. This line highlights shapes and forms made in a traditional Owen style of the early 1900’s folk pottery of North Carolina as well as influences from Asia. This traditional collection has been continued by several potters who have worked at Ben Owen Pottery since the 1960’s. The current line is made by potter Elizabeth McAdams, who works as a studio assistant and retail manager for Ben Owen Pottery.
Works are stamped with the Ben Owen Pottery stamp and initialed with EM.
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 Pumpkin Glaze is a new glaze Ben has been working with and has a beautiful satin finish with variegated colors ranging from bright orange, rust brown and golden yellow. The unique color variation comes from the use of iron oxide and rutile in the glaze and is accentuated by one of the local clays used by Ben that naturally contains a high iron and mica content.
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.