This Pitcher in Ash, Cobalt, and Copper Penny Glazes is a perfect example of “letting the kiln be the paintbrush”. The Natural Ash Glaze is produced from a combination of hardwoods and pine burned in the kiln. The texture on the surface is created by using a bandsaw blade typically used in woodworking. While the piece is “leather hard”, the saw blade cuts into the clay to reveal a linear design. Pitcher measures 7.5”w x 12.5"h.
Please Note: What appear to be white spots on the surface are reflections from photo lighting.
The Natural Ash Glaze is produced by relying on the wood-firing process as the glazing agent. Most pieces dedicated to this glaze are placed in the kiln with little or 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. When these small flakes become airborne, they cling to the exposed areas of the pots and accumulate over a period of time. As the kiln reaches about 2300 degrees Fahrenheit, the wood ash will liquefy and begin to run down the side of the pots, as if one had poured honey on the vase.
Copper Penny Glaze is influenced by the amount of iron in the clay as well as the formula of the glaze. The range of color is dependent on the atmosphere of the firing in the kiln. During the early stages of firing, at 1600° F, we purposely control the furnace to burn inefficiently creating carbon inside the kiln. The reaction of carbon, over a period of several hours, with the iron in the clay will create warm tones in the glaze and iridescent or opalescent qualities to the surface. The presence of wood ash coming in contact with the glaze accentuates the glaze with flashes of apple green and yellow tones to deeper brown shades on areas of the pot. The name copper penny was chosen after many customers, over the years, commented that it looked like the surface of a penny.
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 (2021).