I’m still digesting all the information packed into the wonderful conference on saltglaze at Colonial Williamsburg (Anna will say she told me so…). Most of the lectures were fascinating, a couple a bit dry, but it was a real pleasure altogether to be amidst such passionate and bright scholars and collectors. The exhibition is fantastic and I’ve included a bunch of photographs.
The subject was saltglaze stoneware from Germany, England and the US prior to 1800. Of course, salt glaze started in Germany and my friend Gerd Kessler gave a great paper about the developments in medieval days that led to the great wave of export to the colonies….before the British swiped the technique and then the trade.
This is part of the gallery.
These are all ‘made in the U.S.A.’ Lots of mention of the famous ‘watchspring’ decoration being a uniquely American motif. Of course, there is little to distinguish an American aesthetic at this time with pots coming from all over. One of the lectures discussed the use of hi tech imaging that allows scientists to determine the chemical analysis ofa fired pot without harming it in any way. When you know that British clays contain hematite and German and US clays do not, you can determine where a pot comes from with more certainty.
I’ll probable babble on about the conference for a few more days. I met lots of great people and I’m more excited than ever to learn more about the history of high fire ceramics.
I got home Saturday evening and Sunday morning I was back in the studio, throwing a few extra robust bottles while the ‘spirit’ is moving so strongly in me.