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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Electric Reduction Symposium


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Crystalline Glaze Info

Friends' Work


12-31-09 Last day of the year! It'll be time for Page 9 once I fill in this puppy and we move into 2010!

What would be better than to finish out 2009 with photos of some work by Diane Creber.

Fallonating outside in the winter is a bummer as is doing it inside with the door slightly up. Finally I "hole sawed" a hole for the exhaust and machined an interlocking set of aluminum flanges, which I'll Gorilla Glue in place once it gets warmer. I plan to make a quick release plug to fill the hole when its not in use. Maybe I'll make a crystalline glazed tile (~3 1/4" dia.) to mount on the outside of the plug so it looks even more interesting from the outside (unless a friend already has one).

Last snow of the year!

Close up of a piece from the 12-27-09 "Dr. Arnie Glaze" firing.

Working to get the CO out the door using a "quick hookup" setup.



I can see myself doing more of this glaze and will probably tweak things to get fewer larger crystals.

A Dr Arnie #1 glaze piece only slightly blushed on top after striking 1 hr at 1500C.

Doohickeys affixed to the top of diamond sawn and lapped ornaments with epoxy.

12-29-09 I reprogrammed the Doll cycle to include an initial short soak at 1000C followed by a "longish" slow ramp from 1120C to 1080C.

Different results from this firing.

Doll Firing

Stilts of APM wire, extruded mullite tube & ZIRCAR insulation.


 Glaze 1) with (L to R): .52, .69 and 1.13 g/sq-in. loading.

Glaze 2) with (L to R): .53, .89 and 1.03 g/sq-in. loading.

Pieces above right with Dr. Arnie's  644-F20 base with 1) CuCO3 - 2%, CoCO3 - .3% and SnO2 - 5% after oxidation firing in the e23s and 2) "Arnie's Metallic White": Fe2O3 - 2%, CoCO3 - .2% and TiO2 - 6% after high temperature reduction firing in the Fallonator.


Results from yesterday's firings.



Doll Firing

Arnie's 644 base with CuCO3, CoCO3 and SnO2 before and after PFR.

F413 base w/ 2% copper carbonate and 1/2% cobalt carbonate

Tonight's Doll Firing

12-27-09 Dr Arnie came and we spent the whole day glazing ornaments. He brought 2 uncolored pre-mixed F413 and F644 bases. His 644-F20 base contains 644 - 46.5, 3134 - 2.6, Zn -20.0, Si - 30.0, Molochite - 0.4, Li - 1.0 and VGum Cer - 1.0
We mixed 2 finished glazes from his and some from what I had prepared the day before.

Fallonator high fire reduction load.

e23s and Doll oxidation firings and their programmed firing schedule.

Left - The Wizard's 5 sided aventurine wonder glowing in the early morning - coming in the window real low and bright - sun. Right - Bella chillin' in her bent wrist pose.


Results from 12-24-09 e23s oxidation firing.

These are just the tip of the iceberg.

Jeff Geiringer sent some alumina hydrate for me to try.

Getting ready for Dr. Arnie.

Dr. Arnie Benton is coming tomorrow. I mixed up 11 different glazes, some based on F413 and others on F644.


Hangin' with the pup and Pope on Christmas morning.

Post fire reduction results from the Fallonator.

1, 2 & 3 coats of Holly's red after post fire reduction.

Pieces of the streamers turned red in reduction while others stayed green and white.

Actual firing and reduction curves.


They look a little different hanging with a bow.

Oxidation firing in the e23s. Andreas' finished harp.


Third firing of this glaze combo.

Diane's bowl Nick's bowl

I finally got to fire the bowl Diane Luedemann dropped off before the Symposium (2 center photos). I've never been much for the "puddle of glaze in the bottom" effect before, but think this one came out nice.

12-21-09     Once I started getting crystals I began to tweak the firing cycle to get bigger ones and in my last several firings was getting decent size ones with background showing.

As an added bonus I think I learned on pieces with clear crystalline glaze on the top and red on the bottom that if the crystalline glaze overlaps the red it just sort of washes over the surface. If it is the other way around, red lapping up and over the clear that the clear glaze, being much more fluid, flows down under the red an creates streamers - a much more interesting effect.

 I mixed new glaze and found I had the same poor result. Swimming upstream I sensed the 3110 frit in my container didn't look right. Finally I changed it, mixed new glaze and started getting decent results.

I had a heck of a time getting any decent results, The clear crystalline glaze I was using not melting and was coming out with a bubbled matt look whether it was on the top or bottom of the piece. It's a good thing I have a small test kiln or I'd be making a lot of junk.

12-15-09     I can't believe its been over 2 weeks since I posted anything!

Tonight's firing - Holly's Red on thick with a cap of clear crystalline glaze.

USS Alaska departing Port Canaveral earlier today. Another photo.      And yet another.

Kat found a site which takes distorted photos through the web cam on the laptop. (

Work in Process - Body of a harp by Andreas Widhalm cast using a CNC machined 3D plaster mold.

Last Week


I have been a slip casting fool lately and have turned the molds 20+ times now. I have a mountain of stuff to start glazing. Hopefully they won't all end up as Easter Balls.

Tilton gourds with matte glaze?

Gordon and Olivia are back from Western Canada and stopped in to show me one of his last pieces fired in his SiC heated kiln which was reduced using graphite and water.

We got some 50+ mph winds yesterday which just about blew the hammock off the top deck and took out one of the Chinese crystalline glazed vases.


11-26-09 11-25-09
I finally got all my photos and pages from the Symposium processed.   First ornament firing result. Casting some more.


  11-24-09 11-16-09 11-15-09
First ornament firing. A look inside Phil Morgan's wood kiln Saturday night. SS129 Atlantis Launch 11-16-09 Casting a few.


  11-13-09 11-11-09



More slip cast ornaments.

Jerry sized this bad boy perfectly. It's the last piece of bisque from the Electric Reduction Symposium. It's time to start glazing.

The football season ended last night at the NYS Section 9 Class AA finals.


My first stab at slip casting in 30 years. Christmas is coming soon and I need to get a move on to get these fired before next Christmas.

Tilton Gourds?


Crystal close up from the Pottery Gangsta.

The true look of Gold Stuff, by Kris Friedrich.

Recent Ares 1-X launch with cone formed as it broke the sound barrier.


Can you tell I'm a rank amateur? Andy is going to kill me!

Are these the same crystals seen in aventurine glazes?

3110 base w/ 6% copper carbonate, .05% cobalt carbonate & 2% rutile. All first fired together. Far right one struck at 815°C. Middle and far right with the "Childers Effect".




The sun went down as the lights came up over the soccer fields in the Town Park.

^05 Bisque




10-21-09     I was in the studio until 11 last night trimming pots people threw at the symposium and will post pictures and the attendees list in the next several days. I have some beauties!

10-18-09   Got back from dinner with Kris, Ginny, Avi, SarahLyn, ~jesse, Terry, Cindy, Arnie, Avril and Peter at Château Hawthorne, put some pots (thrown by masters) in the damp box, watched the Fallonator kick into reduction (Terry forgot to plug in the oxygen sensor......just like a plumber!) with Avi and SarahLyn, tucked ~jesse in and am in front of the computer at 12:50am ready to collapse. But..... here's a tease.

Yoshiko made a couple of beauties!

Left to Right: Pots by Avril Farley, Sharon Jackman and Glenn Woods with reduction methods of light propane.....charcoal / oil ......... alcohol.

10-17-09     Holy mackerel do I have some news to report about the Symposium!

We counted 52 people at the open ceremony Friday night, each of whom had a chance to get up and tell their story. What a  magnificent happening. I bet I've taken 1000 photos so far, as did many others. The weather basically stunk (we got snowed on!) but it didn't matter. Most times we were inside as one big happy group of crazed crystal maniacs. It did warm up and the wind stopped tonight for the bonfire.

The generosity of everyone has been amazing. I'm not a real weepy kind of guy, but felt choked up a whole bunch of times.

I'll jump on the full report as soon as the event is over and can't wait to get to it.

10-11-09     Getting Ready for the Show!

This article appeared in the 10-9-09 Warwick Advertiser

The weather forecast looks like we'll have the woodstove cranking!

Many thanks to William Melstrom for dealing with the whole tee shirt thing. It's looking like maybe they should have been sweatshirts.

10-5-09     FF9 Results


Plan (left) - Actual (right) I tried a high fire reduction followed by a "post fire reduction" just all in the same firing.

I think people will be able to see this at the end of the driveway as they drive up.

It was a beautiful day and the colors are coming!  I hope its like this in 2 weeks.

I got quite a bit longer reduction in the second wave then I planned. I know the kiln can't cool faster than about 200°C/hr at that temperature, but proceeded to program a drop of 1000 which resulted in an extended reduction segment.

FF9 Setup

David Turner Bisque

FF8 Results (With my best Melstrom impersonation on the right.)


10-1-09 Fallonator Firing #8 (FF8) Setup 10-3-09 Homecoming at WVHS

A David Turner and 2 Paul Lorbers.

The last 2 Dr Arnies.

Warwick Wildcats 54 - Washingtonville Wizards 0

Kat's smile shines through.


Carbon plug: It seems like it is right where the vent tube exits the brick and alumina goes to brass.

After Cleaning

VEEGUM CER adds an amazing brushabilty to the glaze

Data Sheet

September 28, 2009

Tonight's Hudson Valley sunset.


Young Melstrom?

September 27, 2009

Holly McKeen sent a beautiful piece (<3" tall?) and a bag of dry glaze to use on pieces during the Symposium. I can't wait to dig in.

The leaves are just beginning to turn here. They should be primo come CGS time!

More test soldiers all formed, seeded and drying.

Paul Lorber dropped off some pieces and glaze this week too.

September 22, 2009  Fallonator Firing #7 Results

The test strip on the right shows Gold Stuff works great whether it goes on with one light coat (far left) (like fairy dust),  5 coats (right) (on with the proverbial fire hose) or anything in between.

One piece from a dinnerware set I pressed and bisqued 30 years ago at Alfred

Two eye catchers by David Turner

A plate from Dr. Arnie

September 21, 2009 

The computer graph from the previous firing was just plain old weird. It looked like the reduction level didn't get up above ~750mV. That's the main reason I set this one so I could experience it in real time.
In this firing I found that rather than going up to the set point of 855mV and controlling it again only got up to ~750mV. The gas seemed to be flowing. I turned the pressure up and could hear more flow (the tank actually frosted) but there was no real change in the meter. Terry thinks maybe the poop chute is blocked and I'll need to do the old Roto-Rooter job. Stay tuned.

September 20, 2009 

Fallonator Firing #7 Setup

Daddy's little helper.

106th Firing Results    

Brown Eyes......Oxidation........^8


September 19, 2009  105th Firing Results

I totally butchered the application of glaze on one of Dr. Arnie's bowls and am refiring now. The kiln got ^8 and a little more interesting result. I plan to try a reduction firing of it this week.

106th Firing Setup

Epsom Salt Test     What exactly does adding 2% Epsom salts to a glaze do? I know Ginny Conrow is a proponent of it and recently wrote "I just don't understand WHY one uses CMC, which seems to make for all sorts of problems (sieving, deteriorating the glaze, etc) when a bit of Epsom Salts keeps the glaze in suspension without these problems." I've found that adding CMC helps hold glazes with high drying shrinkage on pots and lengthens the time available to brush out the glaze.  Dick White wrote "The CMC makes it soooo much easier to brush the additional thick layers and get it on relatively smoothly." I'm with Dick on this one. I found in the glaze NFU, where a thin even layer of glaze is critical, that adding 4% CMC makes a thick paste which brushes out evenly very far and even. Ginny sprays so I'm not sure what she sees in it and had to take a look for myself.
Feri Halmos taught me that adding 1 drop per liter of concentrated Epsom salt solution aids the dispersion of glaze ingredients. I have been doing this ever since. I mixed up some Gold stuff with .7 g water per g of solids and 1drop concentrated Epsom salt (CES). Then added 2% Epsom salt to 1/2 of it and let it sit overnight.

After 18 hours the sample with 1 drop CES showed no obvious settling while the one with 2% Epsom salts had  ~1/4" of water on top.


The sample with 1 drop CES was quite fluid but did "split" a little on the top surface.

The sample with 2% Epsom salt was very thick and creamy after decanting the water.

They left distinctly different appearances on the walls of the glasses.

I brushed these 2 samples on bowls from Dr. Arnie. I was targeting a 0.5g / sq. in. loading so as to not get a lake of runoff in the bottom and tried to apply it evenly.

The sample with 1 drop CES was very watery and brushed out quite thin. I was able to go over the surface 3X before reaching the target loading. I did notice the material seemed to settle within itself getting quite thick on the bottom as I worked it.

The sample with 2% Epsom salt was quite thick and creamy. Although I was sure it would go on nice and smooth it de-watered almost instantly on contact not allowing me to brush it out smooth. I was hard pressed to get the target loading with 2 coats it went on so thick. I guess this would be a plus when spraying - fast de-watering - but not when brushing.

I will wait for the results of the next Fallonator firing to see if the 2% salt made a difference in the outcome of the glaze.

September 18, 2009  105th Firing Setup   

 I have been spending so much time playing with the Fallonator I've haven't fired my kiln in a while. This is the first firing in air in ~3 months.

I took another whack at Terry's "James Bond" glazes. I dropped the peak temperature to 1250°C (2282°F) while firing in air.

More flux tests. Fresh off the hernia operation table it was tough to do much more than think about stuff. I was curious about how glaze reacts with alumina hydrate and silica so I set up another test like I did with kaolin and alumina.

Alumina hydrate (Al(OH)3) on the left, silica on the right.

Al(OH)3 with just enough water to wet turns into a thick gel.

After a short time at just above 100°C it is showing major shrinkage cracks.

The next day both showed severe reaction with the glaze.

September 14, 2009  Kaolin appears to resist the glaze better than alumina. It was wet by the glaze as was alumina, but the glaze seems to have wicked in to the alumina cup and attacked it faster then kaolin.

September 13, 2009 I know the proof is in the puddin', but I put together two little desert cups. One of kaolin the other of alumina. Each has a ball of Gold Stuff glaze and is going through a typical crystalline firing just to see what happens.

Kaolin or Alumina? I started using alumina as a separator layer between pots and catchers but switched to kaolin. I found it releases better. Alumina seems to be wet by the glaze whereas kaolin does not.


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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..