This Pitcher in Ash, Cobalt, and Yellow Matte Glazes is a perfect example of “letting the kiln be the paintbrush”. This pitcher was fired in the salt kiln. Pitcher measures 6”w x 9.75"h.
Please Note: What appear to be white spots on the surface are reflections from photo lighting.
Salt Glaze was first discovered by German potters in the late 14th century. Due to the high firing temperatures, stoneware clays are required. The pieces can be handled and decorated with clay slips of many different colors, or, glazed partially with Cobalt Blue Glaze. The surface may resemble the texture of an orange peel. This was an early glaze used by settlers during the 19th century in the Seagrove area. Many of the pieces Ben makes in Salt Glaze are functional, even the more decorative large-scale pots.
The inspiration behind the Yellow Matte Glaze was to create 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.
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, the Cobalt Blue is used to accentuate pieces that are fired in the wood kiln. These are called multi-layered glazes.
This piece is hand-signed by Ben Owen III with the year made (2023).