Crystalline Pottery by Lisa Zolandz

Manassas, Virginia · 90 Sales

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Using Art and Science to create the sublime

Although I was always drawn to clay, I didn't take the plunge until I left my career as a scientist to raise my two children. The sheer beauty of crystalline pottery appeals to my artistic nature, while understanding and manipulating the glaze chemistry resonates with my biochemistry background.

About Crystalline Glazes
Crystalline glazes are created by using a glaze rich in zinc and silica. During the firing process, the zinc and silica in the glaze combine in the molten glaze to form a zinc silica crystal. This zinc silicate crystal is similar to a naturally occurring crystal found in the mineral willemite.

After the kiln reaches its peak temperature of approximately 2350 degrees Fahrenheit, the kiln is cooled a few hundred degrees to an optimal temperature for crystal growth. Minor manipulations of the temperature can create different effects or result in no crystals at all! The kiln is held at this crystal growing temperature for a number of hours to allow the crystals to grow progressively larger. Due to the random motion of the molecules in the molten glaze, each pot is unique. With precise glaze formulation, measurement and firing schedules it is possible to create similar results from firing to firing, but never identical pieces.

Because the glaze has to be kept in the molten state for hours, it typically runs right off the pot. To prevent the piece from being permanently fused to the kiln shelf, a separate glaze catcher must be created out of clay and attached to the pot. After firing, the glaze catcher is removed and the piece is ground smooth.

Crystalline glazes present many challenges and have a high failure rate. However, the spectacular results from a successful piece makes the challenges and effort all worth it.

Please also note that I make every effort to to photograph my items accurately and represent color as true as possible. However, it is possible that variations in monitor settings can cause colors to appear differently. Please contact me with any questions about the color or size of any item before purchasing.

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  • GiftcardAccepts Etsy Gift Cards and Etsy Credits

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Last updated on Oct 15, 2016
Frequently asked questions
Care instructions

Unless noted, all pieces are dishwasher and microwave safe. Pieces that have crystalline glaze on the food contact surface are not recommended for wet foods, as most foods are acidic and the acids will etch the glaze. Dry foods such as fruits, cheese and crackers are not a problem. Items designed for contact with wet foods, such as mugs, have a durable liner glaze on the food contact surface so acid etching is not a concern.

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