Ian Currie

Ian Currie was a potter who lived newar Warwick in southeast Queensland, Australia.  He worked with clay and glazes from 1967 until his death in 2011.  We feel very fortunate to have been able to host him here at Bracker’s Good Earth Clays where he was able to influence 25 potters from Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Arkansas, and Iowa.

Original Ian Currie Workshop Description:

Ian Currie Blue in the face workshopThe workshop will take participants through the recipe-based grid method as outlined in Revealing Glazes using the Grid Method, By Ian Currie. Being a recipe method, it is accessible to all regardless of their understanding of glaze chemistry. At the end of the first day students will have possibly 5 sets of glazes ( about 175 individual glazes) ready for firing, and will understand the method. Where the workshop extends to a second day, the glazes will be fired overnight and participants will be able to see and assess the results and explore possibilities with group discussions. On the second day there are a number of other possible activities including lectures on glaze theory, slide lectures on Japanese pottery including wood firing and pottery in general, and more time to work one to one with students. There may also be time for some more practical work, extending on the results from the first day.

One of the problems with many other approaches to glaze research is a failure to emphasise the vital importance of alumina and silica variations in pinning down specific effects and discovering exciting new glazes. Systematic variation of alumina and silica, along with the fluxes, is central to this method, and is largely responsible for its success. The method is organised so that one is able to separate out the variables and therefore highlight cause and effect. It gives precise control and understanding of things like colour response, maturity, crazing, glaze surface phenomena such as mattness, shininess and orange-peel surface, as well as opalescence, opacity, colour-break phenomena etc. Another feature of the workshop is the use of “mass production” techniques to make and apply glazes quickly, and also cooperative division of labour sharing out the work between groups and sharing the results. A lot will be achieved in a day.

Ian Currie Bio:

Ian CurrieIn 1971-2 Ian Currie spent over a year in Japan studying many aspects of Japanese ceramics, including their approach to glazes. Upon his return to australia, he made a living producing functional handmade stoneware and porcelain.  Ian Currie’s interest in glazes eventually led to lecturing in the subject Australia-wide.  In 1980 he founded a correspondence course in Stoneware Glazes for the Australian Flying Arts School (now Flying arts Inc.) and taught this course for several years.  He was also a flying pottery lecturer with AFAS during that period.

Ian Currie is best known for the method he developed over the years for studying glazes – a very efficient systematic technique that quickly reveals glaze principles while discovering beautiful glazes, and outlined in his first book, “Stoneware Glazes – A Systematic Approach” (Bootstrap Press, out of print) and expanded upon in his second book, “Revealing Glazes using the Grid Method” (Bootstrap Press, out of print)

 Ian Currie Artist Statement:

My wife Christine and I spent over a year in Japan in 1971 and 72.  I went there on a traveling art scholarship to study Japanese ceramics and one of the things I focused on was the Japanese approach to studying glazes.  It was interesting because they had applied western methods of glaze technology to their traditional glazes and I found this fusion of the western scientific approach and traditional empirical methods.  I learned from a variety of sources.  We traveled around Japan to the various ceramic production centres visiting potteries and potters, and also visiting the local ceramic research centres.  I also had a series of private tutorials with a leading glaze technologies, Mr. Masataro Onishi.
This was about thity years ago, and in the west ceramic artists didn’t know anywhere near as much as we do now  It was common for potters to be completely secretive about their glazes, and to find this stuff being freely taught and in their textbooks made me feel I had come to the source!

The deal is, I hold my breath until the student understand all the chemistry he or she needs for my grid method.  I’ve not passed out yet.

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