Have you ever been to a museum or craft show and marveled at the luscious, rich crimson copper red glazes? Copper red is not easy to produce; it takes just the right amount of reduction at just the right temperature in order to throw the copper in a glaze from blue-green to red.
Copper reds first were discovered in China, during the Song dynasty, but how were the first copper red glazes created?
Salt, when thrown into a white-hot kiln, can produce a lovely, clear glaze. Many times, the glaze is dimpled, resembling the peel of an orange in texture.
We know that potters in the Rhine valley began making salt glazed pottery in the late 14th or early 15th centuries. What is not truly know, however, is how it all began. We do, however, have a legend of how the German potters discovered salt glazing.
Not all pottery legends concern the past. This one, for example, is set on a present-day college campus.
Learning how to throw on the potter's wheel can be frustrating. It takes time to master the physical skill and fine motor control needed. This apocryphal tale of learning how to throw demonstrates one of the basic foundations all pottery requires.
Europeans loved the beautiful white porcelain pottery that was being imported from China in the 1600s. Porcelain pottery was worth more than gold, and potters across Europe were endeavoring to reproduce the fine white ware. In the end, though, it was an alchemist who figured out the secrets. Find out the true tale of who "broke the code" and made the first porcelain in Europe.