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Barthélémy Pedotti - Pottery and glazes

from the quarry to the homemade glazes


Pottery

Ceramic pottery is my first profession, a peaceful confrontation with the material
from the quarry to glazes firing, shaping you forever

 

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Traditionally (in Europe) potteries are sorted according to their firing temperatures, then according to their rate of impurity since the more the clay is pure, the higher you can go.
One works earthenware between 1750°F and 2000°F, stoneware from 2280°F to 2400°F and the porcelain up to 2550°F - indicative values of course.

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Mr Jansana (Montpellier Fine Arts School) taught me earthenware, my first pieces beeing fired at 1800°F - Vase, Tenmoku and iron yellow on stoneware

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Nevertherless some technical choices like glazes making (from raw materials) at the workshop, wood firing... obviously lead me to stoneware - Kakis plate, iron & ashes on Shino

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Stoneware was more rare and basically utilitarian in Europe, one of the reason why many potters, like me, have turned their eyes to Korea and Japan; it was a real cultural shock in our field! - Hill cup, iron blue

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Traditional craftsman does not seek technical exploit for itself; his achievement was to draw the epitome of local resources - Iron blue on Tenmoku

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When West brought the art of earthenware to heights, the East was doing the same with stoneware - decoration on Shino, ashes

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Pure clay is Kaolin, an hydrated aluminium silicate derived from hundred of thousand years of feldspars processing; Enamels or glazes are special glasses which should melt on their support without slipping down; to prevent that we add alumina - Tipper, iron blue and Shino on Tenmoku

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It is thus clear that these materials are chemically closed, therefore their successful union... when all goes well! these brothers are very heat-resistant, which is OK for the body of the piece, the firing temperature is adapted to the clay used; but the glaze has to be computed accordingly. We then add "melters, fluxers" which may also bring opacity or dullness... - Teapot, iron blue

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It remains to personalize the glaze: color, gloss, texture ... which is not intuitive; iron oxide can give reds, browns, yellows, blues... depending on the temperature, the firing atmosphere (oxidizing or reducing) not to mention refractive phenomena - Tipper, iron blue on Tenmoku

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For this Iron Blue the only dye used is iron oxide in the Tenmoku, the bottom layer; the top layer is a transparent glaze when used alone, but it is it which "reveals" the blue ... or the yellow, the green... - Flask, iron blue on Tenmoku

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the high temperature used for stoneware (around 2350°F) which allows the use of "raw" materials, the many firing atmospheres interactions (excess on carbon or oxygen) and the many possible overlays give us endless variations - what Japanese glazes reflected (in the spirit of Wabi Sabi, abandonment, impermanence but also contrary to ostentation): the Tenmoku, brown to black, the Celadon, transparent to semi-opaque olive green, the Shino, white to cream-yellow, Nuka or Soul, red and purple Kidama, Murasaki dama... - Flask, iron blue on Tenmoku

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Compose your own glazes is an experience; the regret that comes with is that it would require a dozen lives to master the issue - Bowl, personal turquoise glaze

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