Phil Hamling

376 County Route 1

Warwick, NY, USA 10990

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



Clay Comparison


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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May 2, 2008

I think I figured out what happened to this firing. I now believe I weighed out calcined zinc thinking it was frit. My calcined zinc has some pretty good chunks.  I am working out of a bag of 3110 which also has chunks (which the blender takes care of no problem - Thanks Koz). I think I messed up and only put in zinc (instead of 3110), zinc, silica, kaolin, red copper oxide and rutile.

The formula would have been: 76.3 Zinc Oxide, 14.4 Silica, 1.2 Kaolin, 3 Red Copper Oxide and 4 Rutile. I'll call this glaze #1. This was put on the bisqued pot #1in the photo and applied thin (to all the the other pieces as well) and fired with the same schedule as previous in an attempt to duplicate the result of April 26th.
The glaze really didn't stick or shrink. The porcelain shrank right beneath it creating large flakes of glaze.
I put this glaze on two refire pots (#2) which had mainly my clear base on them. The original glaze from underneath "bit" into the new glaze on top.
Then I took this glaze (#1), and added 6% titania and did a line blend of it with my clear base, trying to see the effect of titania on copper color. These are glazes #3 thru #7. #3 through #6 stuck to the porcelain, #7 did not, much like #1.
After re-combining the leftovers of glazes #4 through #7 it was glazed on the two bisqued pots #8. Although not crystalline I kind of like glazes #5 and #8.

April 28, 2008 OOPS! 64th Firing Results

April 27, 2008 64th Firing Setup




April 26, 2008

Well it looks like something worked. The glaze appears to have thinned out to the color of the top of the original piece and the low temperature hold crystals grew much faster. It has been a bear trying to get a good photo. The crystals have kind of an iridescence, looking like the back of a CD.

These pieces came out on the 24th. I didn't get to photo them until today because my son Phil and I went to Alfred University for him to see an Admissions Counselor and take tours of the campus and ceramic engineering department. Then we took a swing north to visit The Wizard of Koz. Click here for a whole page of photos

April 23, 2008

After the re-fire the color more closely matches that of the middle of the previous piece and I got some small crystals. They are really miniatures, showing all the rings of the program.

I decided to re-fire them yet again (for a third time) with no additional glaze. I was going to increase the hold times but then while looking at the test tiles remembered seeing many pieces where super thin glaze grew 5X+ faster at the lower temperatures than normal. I decided to cut back on the first hold time, but leave the rest alone.

Do you think the guy setting up the cones was tired?

April 22, 2008

It looks like the glaze color on the last load's un-crystallized pieces is similar to that of the thicker parts on this piece. I was trying to get this firing to look like the top of this pot. Maybe the glaze was too thick.

I refired them without adding any glaze with a modified firing schedule with the soaks starting at a little higher temperature.

April 21, 2008

Was it the full moon?

Reduced by David

  David Copper(field)

Test #2 was a total bomb! There aren't even crystals in the catchers. This is the first time I've ever seen this, except with nickel glazes. Nickel glazes that sat around wet for a week or two. This batch of NFU was left over from weeks ago. It was against my better judgment to use it. Or was it the firing schedule. I was trying something new. Were the soaks just too low?

Or were the kiln gods paying me back for Forum Post 4829? Can you say re-fire? I think I'll make a fresh batch of glaze and give it another whirl.

Its interesting how the Doll produced ^10 touching with the same program that gives ^11 touching in my other kiln. If nothing else this should have produced a ton of crystals.

April 20, 2008

Doll Test Firing #1: Re-firing from RT to 815C in 2 hrs with a 1/2 hr. hold then back down. It changed this glaze's green background to a rusty red.

Test #2 glazed with NFU.

Test # 2 is programmed to be a ^11 firing with 12 different 30 minute holds ranging from 1000C to 860C. NFU is high in copper and I'm trying to see how the bands change over this lower temperature range.

An all Asian tribute to Holly McKeen! Kubota and Chinese vases. Whenever I see a loader now I think of her Forum post. Some would say these pieces should go to the same place.

These pieces are destined for post fire reduction by David Turner, who brought over a past copy of Ceramics Monthly with Jesse Hull's Lattice Structures article.

Developing a new glaze.

I'm torn between yard work and the studio. This time of year the yard wins out. This green had to be verticut. The amount of vertical clippings is amazing.

April 14, 2008

My last 6 pieces. Artillery Shell?

Vanity top for the downstairs throne room

April 12, 2008

Same glaze, 3 clays.

What a loser! To cut through not once, but twice in a row.

I am looking forward to be a glazing fool!
First mowing stripes of the season, and they're playing the Masters in Augusta.

It was finally warm enough to spend some time outside on the Stone Patio.

Pussy Willow in full bloom.

April 10, 2008

My latest.

Mighty flashy, David Turner!

Kat or Medusa?



April 9, 2008 63rd Firing Results

April 8, 2008 63rd Firing Setup

There are several re-fires in this load trying to get more background. I added a fresh coat of CMC loaded clear base which brushed on and stuck well.

Ray Boswell, my throwing teacher, is an unbelievable potter and wonderful person with an interesting pottery twist to making a living.

April 7, 2008

62nd Firing Results

(Most of which is looking for some post fire reduction.)

"Let's Make a Deal" stoneware bottles from Kathleen Cameron

NFU Too thin?

A 29 year old AU  collaboration by Mark Vail and Phil Hamling

April 6, 2008 62nd Firing Setup

I hope I put 3% iron oxide and not 3% rutile in the 3-3-3 glaze on the small pieces on the bottom.

Feeling pumped!

Tall Stuff

March 30, 2008



March 29, 2008

David Turner has been cranking out some very interesting reduced copper pieces in his small kiln. I'm looking forward to collaborating on a load in his larger unit.

The diamond lap mount I promised Terry at John Tilton's workshop in Dunedin.

One of my new favorite cups.

Copper, copper, copper!

 I found Steve Klinsky's fish in some packing before I threw it out.

A closer look at some of Norma's last pieces.

A bisque load of test tiles.

Progress on mounting the brass medallions.

March 25, 2008 61st Firing Results


March 23, 2008

Easter Sunday and the first flowers of the year here in the Hudson Valley.


60th Firing Results

61st Firing Setup....These are the last of the "Let's Make a Deal" I have in the studio.


March 22, 2008

60th Firing Results
Another "Smoker" by David Turner Sneak Peek, 425C Finally a pot.

March 21, 2008 60th Firing Setup

This is 8/9 a "Nick Conklin Load". I know it's Easter weekend, but it must seem like Christmas Eve.

I think I'll send Nathan some test tiles too!

Baby's waitin' for Rand Electric.

It amazes me how much stuff I've packed in here in the last year.

Nick.....digging in and going to town.

Kayla got a new "do" and headphones for her 7th birthday.

March 18, 2008 59th Firing Results

March 16, 2008

Dr. Deb's first bowl is pretty solid. It has nice mixed light blue / yellow crystals. I hope she likes it. The only bummer is it has some blue (undispersed cobalt) streaks on it. I kind of like them though.

I got some nice mellow greens on the vases with a bit of variegation in the crystals. I'm looking forward to a little Fallonation process to try and bring the red out. 

58th Firing Results

59th Firing Setup

David Turner reduced this piece. I think it's his 3rd attempt now. Wow! (I think I created a monster!) Look for more of his work.

March 15, 2008 58th Firing Setup

Dr. Deb has a big bowl intended (maybe) for a sale to benefit Planned Parenthood in this firing along with a few pieces I hope I can send to for reduction.

I'll bet I had as much fun making this gizmo for forming corrugated vertical test tiles as I will making the tiles.

I'm going to try "5 Banger" tile arrangements to help get a  good look at line blends

March 11, 2008 57th Firing Results

I'm not sure what I did with the 57th Firing setup photos! I know I shot them, but seem to have misplaced them.

March 9, 2008 56th Firing Results

I got a new L&L test kiln so I can fire small tests without using my larger one, which I feel compelled to fill each time.

 I'd like to be able to see the full range of crystal growth habit (including color, shape and rate) as a function of thermal profile for many of the tests. I wonder which Test Firing Schedule is most appropriate.

After the rain the cold wind came. It took down some more trees including a few cedars. With the ground wet and soft it did a pretty good job bending flag sticks in their cups too.

March 8, 2008 56th Firing Setup

This load has 2 "Let's Make a Deal" pieces from Bill Schran. I haven't fired anything on biscuits before and have had my fingers crossed ever since pushing the start button.

We've gotten "thunder rain" like I haven't seen in a long time. It came down so fast the greens and lawn flooded in a matter of minutes.

I used a different firing schedule. OK, I have been tweaking it all along by adjusting the bottom end to separate the low temperature rings somewhat. I started missing a nice broad high temperature crystal so I extended the beginning of the cycle on this one.

March 6, 2008 55th Firing Results


3-5-08 Sneak Preview, 475C

March 4, 2008 55th Firing Setup


54th Firing Results

March 2, 2008 54th Firing Setup


53rd Firing Results


March 1, 2008 53rd Firing Setup (my first firing in 26 days!)

Andy Boswell came over today for a little schooling. We prepped pots with catchers, mixed some NFU glaze (clear base with 4% rutile + 3% red copper oxide), some 8% rutile base and an Andy number (clear base with 1% nickel oxide and 1/4% cobalt carbonate) then did some seeding and glazing. Also Norma Fives dropped off some more pots and threw glaze catchers. It was a good time capped with Andy, my son Phil and me in a sushi pig fest.

More black walnut shelves from the hands of David Turner. It'll be nice to have a countertop all along the wall under them.

Dr. Deb's wide bowl glazed inside and out with a top 1 " wide band of NFU under 8% rutile base.

Andy and I tried a bunch of different combinations like this over that and that over this.

I'm trying to follow the Wizard's suggestion of giving the inside of a wide bowl plenty of visible heating element and had to use the lid extension.

February 28,  2008

This Nick Conklin "altered piece" (thanks terry) was reduced in a small modified test kiln by David Turner. It is top loading unit with a port near the floor added for the introduction of solid "bio material" and an exhaust port in the lid. The plan was to hold at ~815C (1500F) for an hour in reduction. David commented that it did not get into the level of  reduction quite like he preferred.

This piece's original firing cycle included a 3 hour soak at 1080C (1976F) followed by 5 ups and downs to 1000C (1832F). It seems to me that this piece was heavily reduced on the top and very little on the bottom. Could this be due to:

1) The unit being essentially an updraft setup which did not create an even atmosphere distribution inside - being more reducing on top and oxidizing on the bottom?

2) The fact that this very runny glaze was much thinner on top (and more prone to reduction) and thicker on the bottom (and less prone to reduction)?

3) A combination of the two? 4) Some other reason(s)?

I really like the contrast between the two temperature rings and plan to investigate:

1) Getting a more uniform glaze coating by adding alumina to stiffen the glaze and cut back on the runniness and thickness variation, and

2) Making a new lid for the unit with a vertical alumina tube which is open at the bottom to make more of an updraft configuration and hopefully even out the atmosphere .

February 24,  2008

February 19,  2008 John Tilton Workshop

I finally made it back from John Tilton's Workshop. What a great time. Click here for the "Blow by Blow"

I had a chance to mingle with some great friends as well as make some wonderful new contacts. We had some huge successes. Check out the fingerprint on this piece. As well as massive failures.

Plus got to spend a little time at the beach.

The travel was a bummer as our original flight from Stewart Newburgh got cancelled due to 6 inches of snow / ice / freezing rain. We finally made it out of LaGuardia but I forgot to change our return flight back to LaGuardia and ended up at Stewart. I had to drive 3 hours to get the car while exhausted and with a nasty cold I picked up down there - go figure!

Glenn Woods of Pottery Boys Clay Studios gave a fascinating demonstration of how to make an alligator shin textured pot recent in their studio. For more info on Glenn and Keith's studio see

February 10,  2008

I packed up a bunch of pots, glazes, tools and supplies to send down to use at John Tilton's workshop in Dunedin, Florida next week. I hope I'm not over doing it by bringing too much stuff.

Heading south for a week of sunshine and nice weather suits me just fine. We had this weather blow through here like.....I'd swear we're in Minnesota or something. One minute it's 38F, the next it's 15F and blowing like mad!

February 7,  2008 A Slight Digression

We've been a little side tracked from making pottery due to spending time installing trim and shelves in the studio. Hey......there is nothing wrong with the place looking and feeling Click here to see more.

The trim around the grand entrance to the porcelain throne room came from a 4th floor office at 40 Wall Street.

David Turner is truly a master woodworker and is installing pottery shelves, made of locally harvested black walnut.

The "Florin 116" pot belly stove looks pretty good after sandblasting and fresh paint.

New York Giants.....Super Bowl XLII Champions.......Go Big Blue!!!!!!

February 3,  2008 52nd Firing Results

This is the first time I've seen the light and dark rings coming from the low temperature cycling (900 - 1000C). I guess it's thanks to the higher copper content. Just like the Giants, these bad Boys were too hot to handle tonight. I'll have to get a closer look manana.


Sneak Preview 460C

Pots, biscuits and plates c/o Bill Schran

A selection of Dr. Deb's "Let's Make a Deal" pieces.

Cast Brass Medallions

Bill's pieces (and method) will be a new adventure for me. I've never fired anything on biscuits made of kaolin, sawdust and glue before.

Go Big Blue!

Feb. 3, 2008

Super Bowl XLII


February 2,  2008 52nd Firing Setup

Thanks to Nick there are 4 new glazes on these pieces.

It sure ain't golf weather!

February 1,  2008 51st Firing Results

Back to ^11 touching with the brick lid. I was surprised this plate slumped.



Natures Crystals: 8" long ice crystals formed on one of our wet pickup trucks after todays slush storm and temperature drop.

January 31,  2008 50th Firing Results

This piece came out better than the previous one but still deformed. It's probably time to start looking at glaze chemistry adjustments to lower the firing temperature. I hate to fire this whole kiln to run tests. I think I'll get a hold of my good buddy Steve Lewicki from L&L and see if they offer a mini version - maybe 1 cu. ft. with all the bells and whistles (Programmer, APM, Pt t/c., etc.)


51st Firing Setup

This load saw just less than ^11 (not much, but a little less). The kiln has been firing amazingly consistently with ^11 just touching. I wonder if its not due to the unit reaching temperature faster due to the fiber based lid.

January 30,  2008 50th Firing Setup

Andy's second piece was just too tall even with the ceramic fiber board lid extension. It started out ~ 1/8" from touching but after heating to 60C it looked like it was touching. I think the lid bowed down slightly as a result of the heated face. Finally I removed the hearth plate and replaced it with 2 thin plates of alumina fiber insulation. This gave ~3/4" space on top.

January 29,  2008 49th Firing Results





January 28,  2008 48th Firing Results

Lottsa Blue! Norma's Plates
Dory's Plates A Nick surrounded by 2 Dr. Deb's. 49th Firing Setup

January 27,  2008

I do like the crystal shape this latest firing schedule gave. Several loads waiting in the wings.

My elements are starting to look like hell. There are a few places where the turns of coil have fallen over on each other. It's amazed they have kept going. I have seen no degradation in performance. My schedule still gives ^11 touching on the witness cones. I have actually been pushing them faster so as to turn the loads in a day.

48th Firing Setup

This contains mostly Nick's deep blue on porcelain except for 2 white stoneware plates by Dory Masefield (a new Let's Make a Dealer).

January 26,  2008 Bummer!

I love the crystals though and pretty much think I got what I was looking for in terms of  "wavy" crystal shape and lots of "stuff" in the background. I guess this piece was too flat on top and too thin. Again.....BUMMER!


January 25,  2008 47th Firing Setup

Wow! I can't believe it's been almost a month since I last fired. This firing is all green (2 1/2% copper carbonate in 8% titania base). I'm trying a new firing schedule to get a "wavy" crystal shape by spending most of the time in ramps as opposed to in soaks which produce "flat" crystals.

This load contains the first of Andy Boswell's 2 large "Let's Make a Deal" pieces. With the hearth plate set 1/2" off the floor it came to within 1/4" of the lid.

New firing schedule to get a "wavy" crystal shape?


Agenda for upcoming workshop with John Tilton at the Dunedin Fine Arts Center.


Technical discussion of inclusion pigments by Andreas Widhalm

January 19,  2008


Getting ready to glaze


Colors using my favorite white liner.

David Turner's Handrail.

Antique trim from 40 Wall St.

   Go Big Blue!

With the underdog visiting Giants playing the Packers in sub-zero Lambo Field today, and all the hype around here, it seemed ironic that on the way back from the NJ Devil's game the other day on the NJ Turnpike, near Giant's Stadium, we passed the Vince Lombardi Service Area.

January 13,  2008   The glaze sintered more than I expected, the glue burned out and the catchers popped (duh) plus it looks like I only applied 1 coat of glaze! Back to the drawing board I guess.

Mini dilemma on the glazed pieces in bisque!


Daddy's new toy in action (2000g load).

Click to see a flick.

January 12,  2008   I got my repaired camera back, plus the new one I ordered.

Chris Groat's last 2 "Let's Make a Deal" bowls .


I'm not sure where this shape is going.

Chris' bowls are in tonight's bisque and glazed with titania free base plus 2% tin oxide and .4% copper carbonate. I'm hoping the bisque will toughen up the glaze to help it survive shipping to for reduction firing in the Fallonator.

Besides my own work I have "Let's Make a Deal" pieces in the studio from Andy, Norma and David. I think Nick is bringing some too. I'll be a Glazing Fool again soon.

"Uncle Mets Fan" came through in a big way with a surplus Twin Shell Dry Blender from his work. I can't wait to put it through the paces. It should help me dry blend 1000 to 2000 gram batches of base glaze.

January 6,  2008    

I ordered a new camera which I hope arrives early this week



Go figure! I checked on the status of the repair of my old camera and Sony says they shipped it back to me and it should arrive on Monday. It looks like I may have 2 cameras now!

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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..