The process that Scott goes through to make each vase is extensive. Each piece is hand-thrown and shaped on a pottery wheel. Then after drying and a preliminary bisque fire they are glazed with a crystalline glaze and fired again with a special firing method. This specific glaze will only ever be seen on Scott Rivers Ceramics because it was created and made by Scott himself.
To begin the crystal growing process, the kiln is heated up to around 2300 degrees. At this point the ingredients in the glaze begin to melt together creating the seeds from which the crystals will grow. When it reaches max temperature the glaze becomes a liquid state and starts to run off the form dissolving some of the seeds. The temperature is then reduced to between 2000 and 2200 degrees. The kiln is held at different points within this range for 1-4 hours. These are called “soaking” periods. During these plateaus, the glaze begins to solidify again and the remaining seeds begin to attract the minerals around them which produce the crystals. The longer the kiln is held at that temperature, the larger the crystals become. Different soaking temperature will produce different shaped crystals.
With all the variations involved in the process, the number of results is impossible to calculate. The excitement of opening a kiln after it’s fired is much like a kid opening presents on Christmas morning. You never know if your pieces will be successes or failures. This type of glaze is mostly avoided in the ceramics community because of the small success rate. You can duplicate every step in the process and get entirely different results. This is what drew me to this process. The randomness and unpredictability of crystalline glazes is like no other glaze out there and one that will never grow old nor lose its excitement. Crystalline glazes require a lot of testing, recalculating, failure, and frustration, but can be very rewarding and can produce beautiful results.