Salt Glazing

German "Space Age" Salt-Glazed Corseted Vase (LEO Design)

The Medieval Germans invented salt glazing by accident—when a ceramics-maker ran out of fuel for his kiln (in mid-firing) and all he could find (quickly) were some broken pickle barrels to chop-up and throw into the kiln.  Apparently, the salt from the barrel’s wood reacted with the clay being fired, resulting in the lightly textured “orange peel” finish we see above.  Salt glazing became popular and spread throughout Europe (and to America).  It was used, initially, for “utilityware”: crocks, pots, mixing bowls.  Despite the limited color range available when salt glazing (browns, blues, purples), it has remained popular and the technique has been adopted by decorative potters.  Shown above, a corseted German vase from the 1950’s or 1960’s with a “Space Age” argyle decorative pattern.  Please come into the shop to see this vase, and a small collection of such salt glazed pieces.


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