Crystalline Glaze

Phil Hamling

376 County Route 1

Warwick, NY, USA 10990

e-mail: (change the -at- to @)


Zinc Silicate Crystalline Glaze Pottery

A chronicle of my recent progress and a way for me to keep it straight in my head!

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 Info I've been asked to keep in confidence.

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Crystalline Glaze Info

Electric Reduction Symposium
Molybdenum Crystalline Glaze

Friends' Work


4-14-13   I have been spending much time preparing for my presentation, on "The Childers Effect", which I will give at the Cristalls 2013 - International Crystalline Glaze Convention, Girona, Spain next week, and have not had time to update my web site. I have many, many many pieces of information to put online and will do so once "the cat is out of the bag", so to speak.


You'd warp too if you saw 1700C (3100F) for 12 hours. Let's try that again with a little support.   Phil got to St. Louis for the first time.



I "adjusted" these 3 pieces by  Jim Fox. This piece is keeping with the winter theme. Shipping Documents

3-8-13   Yesterday we go 10" of a very wet snow. Some in the media were actually referring to it as snain (snow + rain?). I've never heard that one before. Anyway, it was very wet and sticky and clung to everything it touched.

You can see how it built up on this piece of pottery and on the tops of the stakes defining the edge of our driveway (for the snow plow). I got these photos just as it was slumping over before falling off. The next morning I took the shot of it melting off the stairs on the back deck.

2-28-13   A friend from college found me through the internet (34 years later) and sent photos of a pipe and tile I made and gave to him. I can't believe Harry has kept the stuff for that long.

I am trying to get the presentation together for Spain and am struggling to re-learn PowerPoint. The tile was fired in a gas kiln with a "state of the art" (at the time) controller. It used an electric eye to follow the edge of a firing curve drawn on a circular chart. I remember the schedule included a 4 hour hold at 1100C. Now I can see in the spherulites that it oscillated above and below the set point during the firing.


2-27-13 2-25-13
Fortunately there were only 2 tri-axle loads of stinky stuff that all went away today.      
Another beauty by Joerg Baumoeller High manganese content. I've never seen this look before. I came back to a record order backlog for our company. It was ~5X what it was during the Electric Reduction Symposium.


Jose' Mariscal Workshop 2-20-13
Dunedin, Florida
2/22/2012 - 2/24/12
I loaded these just before going to Dunedin And barely unloaded these.


2 1/2 years went by fast.
      You'd smile too if you were getting $+/ton to remove & burn oil soaked ground.




2-14-13   Two recent firing cycles. A shorter one for horizontal surfaces and a longer one for vertical surfaces. 2-16-13  After machining her in the surface of an acrylic sheet I peeled the paper off and filled the lines with black paint. Next is to go over it all with white paint, flip it around and peel off the other layer of paper.


      8 & 11% MnO2




2-8-13 2-9-13 2-10-13  
I'm really looking forward to meeting Jose. We got a little snow last night  


Joerg Baumoeller      


Gordon has been coming up with some amazing stuff. I think this piece by Jim Fox looks good against the spalted curly maple paneling in my studio's down stairs throne room. Hopefully Bill Campbell will come and help me glaze some of these pieces. I just bought this property which is just down the road smack in the heart of Pine Island.

1-28-13   After coming back I worked up this calculation to show Jim Fox how I'd go about figuring out how much glaze to put on some pieces in order to get 1/2 gram per square inch loading.

1-25-13   I took a trip to see Jamie Kozlowski up in the frozen north, for a couple of days, with plans to do all kinds of stuff. I ended up not doing much more than sitting on the couch (it felt great).

Glaze loading calculation for Jim Fox.     Wizardly bisque.
Why does this say "Barber Shop" to me? Jamie posing with some pieces from a (10 year old?) Skutt ad. I love that blue drippy look. I wonder how well it sells. This is one ugly piece unless I looked at it from the side.
It was nice and cold. (Not so nice but definitely cold.) Even these crystals looked cold. Jamie and Peggy in their front yard.  
I got to christen the latest throne. Even the road salt made sperulites.   Another shot of the latest piece I glazed by Glenn Woods before sending it back to him.



1, 4.5, 8, 11.5 & 15% Cu2O    

1-20-13   I've increased the water, to 70%, and decreased the Veegum Cer, to 1%, in these glazes in order to have a thinner mixture to help me control the application rates. Red copper oxide just does not want to stay in the mix under these conditions.

This series has from 1 to 15% Cu2O in it. Glenn's girl is on the dance floor.   Cu2O + MnO2
I was surprised to see metallic copper after an oxidation firing. I went too far in shortening the cycle. This piece (1 out of 20) had the least background. I need to see a shrink. I've been seeing faces in far to many things lately.

1-9-13   I found the reason I was getting "TC1 FAIL" and a funky curve was that I had pinched the extension wire from that TC in the case the last time I opened and closed it. Fortunately the kiln controls primarily off TC2 and the firing seems to have gone OK.

e23s firing while displaying




Copper carbonate and red copper oxide with manganese dioxide.   Glenn's doll is all dressed up and looking for a hot time. Saturday was all about getting some more grading done so we can use the new loading dock.

1-5-13   We were sent some nice photos taken on Christmas eve.

Phil and Patti  Kat and her Papa  Crystal and Kat  Phil and Crystal 




F413 line blends of 8% CuCO3 and 4.6% Red CuOx with 0 through 4% MnO2      


12-15-12 12-13-12

Doug & Sue took a 20 ft. tree.


12-13-12   12-12-12






This one almost looks fake.   Ian Childers, The Pottery Gangsta'



    Platinum wire  

12-3-12,  12-4-12    

  This bag of 644 is like a brick.    







Justin's first piece came out great (but I need a better photo).  His second one is in the kiln now.   I got this cool hat from a customer. I finally got these finished and they are on their way to the Wizard.


11-26-12     11-25-12
William sent me a small vase today. It is in good company with the others in my office.     Andy came back and finished putting the oil spot glaze on the tops of these pieces.
One engineer (me) screwed up the calculation to estimate surface area and tried to recover by scraping off glaze. Andy started glazing the outside of these pieces. I've been mixing a whole series of line blends still trying to find the edge of the cliff.
Andy Boswell and Justin Reese came over for a day of fun, glazing and BS slinging. Justin seeding with zincite Where is Dr. Seuss anyway?

11-22-12     A series containing 4 1/2, 7 3/4 and 9% Red Copper Oxide.

Sometimes things are just easier done by hand. I think I will submit this piece in the competition in Spain. Or maybe this one. Georgene and Katerina Georgene

11-17-12    Glaze thickness plays a significant role in the growth habit of rings in this glaze contain copper, cobalt and manganese.

Red copper oxide, cobalt carbonate and manganese dioxide additions: 4.5, 1.5 & 1.5% on the left - 9, 3 & 3% on the right.   I've got more of this bun in the oven and have my fingers crossed it can be reproduced. Waiting patiently for some attention.

11-8-12     I got some new info from my "virtual" friend Joerg Baumoeller, who is among the group of people I'm really looking forward to meeting in person in Spain this spring.

Joerg has an upcoming show in Hamburg/Kiel. I thought he was retired!? His dog Pipo... a so called "Podenco" originally coming from Egypt seems to have quite the personality, probably not unlike Joerg's. 11-13-12     I've been working on some forms for the Wizard to use to make square plates and am now ready to cut out the parts. 11-16-12 Mother Nature can be beautiful and brutal.

11-1-12 thru 11-6-12    None of this has anything to do with crystalline glazed ceramics except eating up my time and keeping me away from it.

Hurricane Sandy ripped a bunch of our trees out of the ground. I'm not sure what I'll do with this birch.   Some people are still without power - 9 days later. A generator doesn't do much good without gasoline. Sights like this weren't uncommon when you could find a station with gas and electric to pump it.
A first frosty morning. A whole mixed bag ready to go out the door. How to make 40 of the same odd shape in ~20 minutes.
My nephew Cole spotted this big coyote walking through his yard at 1:00 today. I pulled several of these blood sucking ticks off Bella. Custom Heater Assemblies A 3100F (1700C) furnace lining under construction.


      4" Tile



10-23-12     On the chart below, the red line is temperature and the black is reduction level.

 Sneak preview taken at ~400F. The transmitters really didn't like being outside last night and created a whacky chart. Something in these re-fires wreaked all kinds of havoc making large bubbles.





I really like Andy's forms. Red copper oxide, cobalt carbonate and manganese dioxide in the ratio of 3:1:1.
6 3/4% copper on the left, 4 1/2% on the right.
  I bought this at a yard sale for 5 bucks.

10-19-12 Here's a pretty thought provoking video from Corning Glass


10-17-12     I did a series of red iron oxide additions in a molybdenum glaze ranging from 7 1/2% to 30%

The 15% RIO tile only had one crystal At 7 1/2% they are still there, but their growth is stunted.  
The second one is a little better, but I still need to lose some flux. I hope reduction will make the crystals pop. This first vertical moly test looks like the glaze is too thin and has too much moly.    




      Our company was a sponsor of the Materials Mini Camp which was geared towards helping high school students decide if materials science is a career path for them.  
People like to send me pictures of their catch. 
This was the first trade show I've ever been to where a high school marching band paraded up and down the isles.  Phil took this 8 pointer with a bow the night before we left for the show.  Gordon and Olivia caught this King Salmon in the Black River in upstate NY.   Chris and his buddy caught some nice bass in the Hudson River.

9-30-12     Mother Nature brought us a mixed bag of inclement weather including a small hail storm which kept me off the lawn. It was nice to spend the afternoon in the studio glazing some things. I've never felt I'm good enough to be considered a potter, but maybe I am a foul weather potter.


9-27-12     My good friend Joerg Baumoeller sent some macros of moly crystals he has grown. These are snips of the best of the best. Everything was peaches and cream, even though the sheer number and size of the e-mails choked my Outlook, until he sent the  last one. In it he simply said something like "....these were all grown on vertical surfaces." I know it is simply a statement of fact but for some reason the hair stood up on the back of neck as I thought maybe I should take that as a challenge!



Endeavour says goodbye to Kennedy Space Center.

9-23-12  am.    It's like Christmas morning here except Santa is taunting me with presents but they are too hot to open. I took a sneak peek anyway and now I really can't wait to open them.


9-22-12      This is my first reduction test in the Fallonator. It's so easy to press the start button and then leave, but I virtually sat and watched the whole thing.

Thanks to a good supply of spare parts I was able to get the oil bomb / alcohol drip kiln up and running in short order. As happy as I was Bella really didn't give two woofs about it!


           Moly glaze with .2% tin oxide and X% black copper oxide, Y% cobalt carbonate and Z% manganese dioxide.
      X, Y, & Z from left to right: (3/8, 3/16, 3/16), (3/4, 3/8, 3/8), (1 1/8, 9/16, 9/16) and (1 1/2, 3/4, 3/4)
These slag liners are the best use I've seen for chromium oxide.

I poured alchohol in the IV bag at 1600F and realized too late that  the valve was wide open  and had a mini explosion which carboned the thing up and blew an element. I saw the temperature drop as opposed to climb like it usually does. Set on HI, the kiln slowly dropped to 1550F over the course of 30 or so minutes.

Before 1550F reduction. After
(I have never seen the setters turn so black before.)

9-16-12      Today's photos

9-16-12      Yesterday's photos

  Higher glaze loadings seem to provide an excess of Mo and over nucleation. The lighting outside was perfect yesterday. Phil caught this King Salmon in the Salmon River in Pulaski, NY yesterday.


Bismuth seems to increase both iridescence & crystal density......... ......... plus change the shape of crystals which otherwise would have been much more feathery. Testing all kinds of additives, some received as gifts, some bought and some made at home. The combinations are limitless.
These ceramic fiber based insulation panels stack up to make one large thin walled cylinder.   It looks like it reacted completely. A dewy morning.


Reduction effects can be dramatic. Test tiles with 1 1/2% black copper oxide, 3/4% cobalt carbonate and 3/4% manganese dioxide. Roasting molybdenum and tungsten oxides. Glenn sent me some Blue Tungsten  Oxide, W20O58. It's pretty wild looking stuff
(Just don't look at Terry's arm.)      
    Troughs for molten aluminum transport. 9-5-12      Kat wrote from hippie college "That's Amy with my piece on the wheel next to her!"


Phil caught a school of fish, near the old ship wreck, including this 10 lb. walleye.      

8-27-12   Some of Priscilla's pieces and Kat going back to UVM as a sophomore.




8-19-12   Priscilla Palumbo, Steve Bernard and Sally Tomiko drove down from Connecticut for a day of slinging glaze and BS. I also worked in a booze drip post fire reduction cycle at 1500F which gave some curious results on a few moly crystal tiles. Although they are not what was in my mind's eye I find them interesting none the less, probably because their contrast has been turned up a notch and I've never seen anything like them before.

Here's looking at you!      

8-14-12   Things that have been keeping me out of the studio.


8-7-12     A new piece from Feri...............

    .............that sort of reminds me of this one of tonight's views while driving down Amity Road. A recent favorite  by Adam MacMillan.


Re: ....a more red red color after reduction.


    L to R: 0, 2, 4, 6 & 8% Rutile.
Top to Bottom: 0, 1 and 4hr holds at 1080C
^10 moly glaze under short wave UV.

8-4-12     A very light reduction?    15 minutes at 1400F with 2 quarts of isopropyl alcohol.


Back to Crystalline Glaze Information Page

Recently I had the good fortune of importing many very interesting crystalline glazed pieces from Beijing, China.

The source of all my good fortune---my day (and night, 24 - 7) job. ZIRCAR Ceramics, Inc.
One of my other passions - landscaping, gardening, greens keeping, etc..