Phil Hamling

376 County Route 1

Warwick, NY, USA 10990



Friends' Work

Forum For Five

Zinc Silicate Crystalline Glaze Pottery

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

Click on thumbnails to enlarge photos

Info I've been asked to keep in confidence.

Crystalline Glaze Information


Temperature Conversion

Crystalline Glaze Variables

Bailey Pottery

US Pigment Corp.

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December 28, 2007     46th Firing Results


This firing turned in a day and I like the way the rings came out, especially on Steve Klinsky's vase. The crystals have quite a bit of depth and a more natural look to them.

These are the largest glaze catchers I've thrown yet.

I attribute the range of colors in this load to Nick's need of deep blue and §'s comment that I should fire more colors.

Nick's deep blue (seeded) plate came out real nice. It was my titania base with 3% each CoCO3, Fe2O3 and MnO2.

Not everything is "Peaches and Cream" though. I noticed the stained engobe was cracking off the largest piece on the top shelf when I loaded it. I must have applied it too dry. Well anyway it seems to have self destructed in several places during the firing. I can see it in the bucket of Holly's loader now!

I am having fits with this borrowed camera. Steve's vase really begs for closer photographic attention, just not with this camera. I'm either going to get mine back from repair soon or will splurge and just go out and buy the real deal.

Firing Setup

I increased the heating rate to allow the original 11 hour heat up to occur in 7 1/2 hours, the hold time of the first 1080C hold to 2 hours and each temperatures hold from 5 to 15 minutes to show more distinction between rings.

December 27, 2007     45th Firing Results

Nick Conklin stopped by with his camera and took these pictures for me.

Reducing the cooling rate from top temperature seemed to cut down on the nucleation of crystals and allows more background to show. (Thanks for the tip Koz!)

Dr. Deb holding one of her first pieces.

This firing schedule produced an interesting combination of rings at lower temperatures. The 5 minutes hold were not long enough to facilitate significant growth at each temperature.


December 27, 2007     45th Firing

Without my camera I feel like I need the Wizard to come and do shadow puppets like he did at Krystallos 2007. My kiln is cooling at ~300C and the load looks pretty interesting. (I'll unload it in the morning). I used this schedule, graph/12-25-07/graph.jpg, which has a lot of time at (relatively) low temperatures and made some nice light colored action around the outsides of the crystals.

Steve Klinksky's piece with 2 1/2% copper carbonate in my 8% titania base glaze on it is probably the nicest of the bunch. There is quite a bit of dark secondary action in the background as opposed to one of my grolleg pieces which doesn't have much. My first stab at dark blue was a bomb as was the piece with 2% tin oxide and .4% copper carbonate. Just a bomb in that the composition needs to be adjusted to get (more) crystals. The tin has an interesting effect on the glaze. I'm sure Terry can do something to it in the Fallonator.

The next time I use this schedule I'm going to lengthen the holds to get bigger crystals with more separation between the rings.

I borrowed a camera and took some sneak preview shots, but I won't be able to get them off the camera until tomorrow, and by that time I'll shoot the finished product.

December 23, 2007

  I think I have a great new tool just in time for Christmas. It's an Excel spreadsheet which generates firing curves on the fly. Input Rate, Temp. and Hold info, just like you do in the Bartlett controller, and it builds the firing curve right in front of your eyes. This ought to make it real easy to work out a firing schedule and see the curves in the future. I think it's going to be like reading music.

Input variables in a table See the firing curve in a graph. Get crystals like these.

Program the variable in the kiln controller and fire.

Avi gave me the great idea of cataloging my firings this way. Check out this page as I build it.

Send me one of your firing schedules and a picture of the crystals it makes and I'll put it up.

December 22, 2007

I actually had a lot of fun putting this stuff together, especially the page on the left (even if they are all recycled photos).

And thanks to Ferenc Halmos for the beautiful Hungarian winter landscape shots.

Enough's enough though. Tomorrow I'm looking forward to getting my hands back in the stuff!

Fibonacci Sequence Firing Results

Feri's Hungarian Winter Landscape Photos

December 20, 2007


My camera crapped out and started taking pictures that look like the Northern Lights. It turns out this is due to a defect in the electronics. Apparently this problem runs rampant through Sony's cameras and camcorders. They have agreed, as a result of a class action law suit settlement, to repair it it at their expense. I am waiting for a UPS label to include when I send it off to Laredo Texas for repair. It could be months before it comes back. I will need to get a different camera to keep the photos flowing, but will probably be down for a while.

December 17, 2007


Dr. Deborah Bernstein's first load of "Let's Make a Deal" bisque. She comes from the world of "Other Ceramics" but you watch as she gets bit by the Crystalline Bug!

Check out her previous work here.



December 17, 2007     44th Firing Results

December 16, 2007     Funky Weather....Even the sculpture would rather be inside.

December 15, 2007     44th Firing Setup

I'm finally firing those lidded pieces I made oh-so-long ago. I'm trying the Fibonacci Sequence I described on 12-9-07 and the large "Fallon Stilts" for some of the lids.

Rearranging the Studio

I moved things around a little to get more of a flow to things and end the feeling that I'm working out of a heap. Now there is a home for green ware, bisque waiting for catchers and pieces ready to glaze. Also I don't have to walk around the table every time I want to mix a new glaze.

December 9, 2007  Fibonacci Sequence

In my Crystalline Glaze Forum Post 3518 I wrote: "....have inspired me to try to incorporate the Golden Section (or Golden Ratio) in the progression of rings (in) my glazes. .......for a more "natural" looking ring transition."

I plan to combine these soaks in my next firing. The high temperature hold (1080 C) soak times decrease according to the Fibonacci Sequence 55, 34, 21, 13, 8 & 5 while alternating with low temperature hold (1000 C) soak times which increase according to the reverse sequence 5, 8, 13, 21, 34 & 55.
December 8, 2007 43rd Firing Results

December 7, 2007

  Making Vertical Test Tiles with Catchers

Gordon Czop's "Grape" contains manganese dioxide, erbium oxide & cobalt carbonate

December 4, 2007

December 3, 2007 43rd Firing Setup


December 3, 2007 42nd Firing Results


Glaze Adjustments - Results

December 1, 2007 42nd Firing Setup


Glaze Adjustments - I'm trying to find out what it takes to get glazes which allow the body stains to show through, and am trying to apply some of The Wizard's suggestions.

A friend gave me a great gloss white glaze which survives the crystalline firing schedule without going matt. The gloss black on Fallon Classic is another story.


Andy Boswell (my current teacher) has an amazing touch and made these 2 "Let's Make a Deal" pieces.

I'm looking forward to installing some shelves in the studio for display purposes.


I thought I was using Zochem 160 zinc oxide. Thanks to John Tilton I looked closer and saw it was actually Zoco 103.

My next bag is Denzox. I think I'll go shopping for more Zoco 103.

November 29, 2007 41st Firing Results

I know the Wizard doesn't like the dragon droppings that 8% titania leaves in a crystalline glaze, but I kind of like it on the 1/2% cobalt carbonate + 2% manganese dioxide colored pieces!!!!!


November 27, 2007 41st Firing Setup


November 25, 2007 Wesleyan Potters Annual Sale

Member's Work Pat Gatzke Ilene Mahler Pat (Kunie) Hesler

Steve Bernard

Priscilla Palumbo and some of her work.

November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

A line blend of  base glaze with no titanium dioxide containing 2% nickel oxide and 2 1/2% copper carbonate gave some interesting results. I was trying to see if I could match to colors of the top 2 pieces on this page. Copper carbonate without titanium dioxide makes an aqua color, not green. The second from the right is the best match, but needs to be deeper. Maybe a little titania will do that without making the nickel turn bile colored.

Base Glaze + Parts

Base Glaze +

2% Nickel Oxide

6 5 4 3 2 1 0  
  0 1 2 3 4 5 6

2 1/2% Copper Carbonate

Last night I spent several hours showing Nick how I prepare pots for glazing, including sanding and rinsing the piece, lapping the mating surfaces of it and the catcher, cleaning each then attaching them with glue and kaolin. We finished quite a few.

It's been difficult to get a decent imprint from my acrylic logo stamp when I can't get to trimming fast enough and the piece is very dry. I can press a wad of clay on the piece but if it's dry enough to release from the stamp it usually cracks around the edges. If wet enough not to crack it sticks. Andy came up with idea of machining the stamp from bisque. I tried at our normal feeds and speeds, but found at 18,000 rpm it spit sparks and flame like one of Koz's dragons. This one was machined at 5,000 rpm and 5 ipm feed. It's a little "chippy". The next ones I'll do wet. I can't wait to try it.

November 15, 2007     40th Firing Results

This is the first time I've tried copper carbonate in a glaze with no titania or rutile. It gives quite a different effect. As far as how I like it goes, let's say I'm still chewing on it. I do like the way both glazes broke in the plates.


A small ray of sunshine peeked under the clouds after today's rain, lit up the church and the neighbors house plus gave us a rainbow.

Speaking of chewing, Bella, @ ~ 5 months, has lost her puppy canine teeth.

November 14, 2007


I was so fried after a long day at work and previous night in the studio until midnight that all I could do in class was watch Andy's 3 demos, trim the stoneware piece I threw the week before and apply porcelain slip to it.

November 13, 2007   40th Firing Setup

This firing includes 2 of Norma's plates (one with NiO2, the other with CuCO3) a piece of a dinner plate I pressed in 1979 ( with both glazes), a current piece of mine, the 3rd firing of a Fa's workshop dog after adding the CuCO3 glaze over the existing 4% MnO2 over 5% erbium oxide plus test tiles containing a 7 step line blend of the 2 glazes.


I mixed one batch of 300 grams of "Clear Base" glaze with 2% NiO2 and another with 2 1/2%  CuCO3. Literally a drop of Epsom Salt solution makes an amazing difference in the rheology of the glaze. Without it, the glaze is thick and doesn't move well in the blender. With it it thins right down, flows easily and becomes much more brushable, even with uncalcined zinc oxide in the batch.

November 10, 2007


November 10, 2007

November 7, 2007

The red flags (hopefully to keep the damn dog from digging holes in the green) look a little like red tulips to me in the early morning light.

I made the front vase out of stoneware and plan to apply porcelain slip. I am very happy with it and think its beauty is a direct result of Andy's tutelage*.

Andy Boswell is one hell of a potter and teacher. Amazingly talented, his skills have most recently been honed at the School of American Crafts at RIT in Rochester, NY. You can check out more of his work at

(* and his Dad Ray -

November 6, 2007

I ordered this setup hoping to be able to take better photos.

Tabernaculum in the Szt László Church  by Ferenc Halmos

Párizsi Udvar is decorated with thousands of ceramic forms.

November 5, 2007      3 Samples of Zinc Oxide

Zochem P160 from Bailey Ceramics which I calcined for 1/2 hr @ 800C. 0.8 g/cc tapped density.

Denzox from Trinity given to me by Jan Anthony. 1.5 g/cc tapped density.

Unknown variety of zinc oxide I purchased at Alfred University in 1978. 1.6 g/cc tapped density.

October 31, 2007 39th Firing

October 27, 2007 38th Firing





October 25, 2007 37th Firing


October 23, 2007 36th Firing

These pieces were glazed with the 8% titania base colored with 2 1/2% copper carbonate and  2% manganese dioxide + 1/2% cobalt carbonate. The firing cycle included a 3 hour soak at 1080C followed by 5 ups and downs to 1000C and finally a slow ramp to, and hold at 950C.

This a catcher fell off during glazing and broke. My repair didn't hold but the ZIRCAR Alumina insulation sponged up a lot of glaze.


Steve Klinsky's test tubes


At dawn the wind picked up an the hickory leaves let loose.

October 20, 2007 Water or Zinc?

Calcined  zinc oxide

Bisque ready for glazing pieces from Chris Groat, Steve Klinsky and Nick Conklin.

October 6, 2007 Resolution of Water Woes?

October 2, 2007 35th Firing Results

The revised firing with the 5 short cycles first followed by a 3 hour hold at 1080°C did produce small bulls eyes inside a wide growth ring. Also changing the top hold from 15 minutes looks to have brought me back to ^10. It is almost scary to think I got what I thought I would!

The glaze looks a little different though and I can't quite put my finger on it. I think they are unique but I like the ones from the previous firings, the ones with the 5 rings on the outside, better. I think next I'll stay with the same program, seed to get more bulls eyes and reduce the 3 hour hold to 2.

Chris, We have to go back to potter's class and take "Handles 101" again. If you are ever on vacation from doctor school throw a bunch of mugs and put handles on them like Holly McKeen does. They look so solid.

September 30, 2007 35th Firing Setup


I made a few minor changes to the firing cycle including reducing the top hold from 15 minutes to 5 to get closer to ^10 and changing the order of the rings. I reprogrammed the 3 hour 1080°C to happen after the 5 up and downs between 1000°C and 1080°C. This should give me small bulls eyes inside a wide growth ring. I expect in many places this large ring will surround many clustered bulls eyes.

The 2 glasses and a pair of chalices have the 8% titania base with 2% manganese dioxide + 1/2% cobalt carbonate and the second pair have the 8% rutile base. I finally glazed that teapot I made 28 years ago with gloss white on the inside and 8% rutile base on the outside. Maybe if I suck up to § I can get him to reduce it for me so there will be gold crystals on a streaky purple background.

34th Firing Results


All in all I'm pretty happy with how things came out. The 3% copper carbonate + .1% cobalt  carbonate glazed vases have just a hint of blue green as I expected. The firing seems to be reproducible even though the elements are aging. Cone 11 is touching like it did 2 firings ago. The rings look about the same.

Chris, The 2nd glass looks just like the first from the last firing. I think the bowls foot should have been deeper. That way I wouldn't have to grind the glaze drip off. It doesn't look bad ground, but would be better as - is.

September 28, 2007 34th Firing Setup


In addition to 12 test tiles with various ^10 reduction glazes from the studio where I'm taking throwing lessons I have some more Chris Groat pieces, plus finally one of my own.

These are glazed with the 8% titania base with a) 1% copper carbonate + 1% red copper oxide, b) 3% copper carbonate + .1% cobalt  carbonate and c) 2% manganese dioxide + 1/2% cobalt carbonate.

I'm very interested to see what happens to ^11 in this firing.

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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..