View Image Gallery Peter Ilsley(Full member)Tel: +44 (0)1327 842 886 Email:
of crystalline glazes is one of the more difficult challenges a potter
can face. Since the 1850s the process has fascinated - and in some
cases obsessed - a small number of potters in various countries. Peter
Ilsley, who has been potting professionally since 1963 and has had
periods of "playing with" crystals at roughly five-year intervals. In
January 1989 he made a total commitment to the problem of consistently
producing quality crystals. Hundreds of firings were done and
hundreds of pots scrapped before he was able to achieve his goal.
He wrote his book, ‘ Macro Crystalline Glazes’ which was published by ‘Crowood Press' as an A4 hardback at £25 in June 1999, it features some of the leading ceramists/potters working in this field at the time.
Ilsley's porcelain pots are sprayed and/or dipped with zinc silicate containing zinc and silica which are often but not always, "seeded" with titanium dioxide at 1300°centigrade to form the nuclei of the spectacular flowers which then develop organically in the glassy magma during a soak between 1100°c and a 1000°c on the cooling cycle lasting up to five hours.
peak temperature is critical - a few degrees too much will cause most
of the glaze to run off the pot, consequently the pots have to be fired
on their own pedestals, with a small bowl to catch the glaze run-off.
Otherwise they would be welded to the kiln shelf. Too low a temperature
produces something akin to galvanised iron! The clay, the glaze
composition, its application and the firing cycle all play a vital and
complex part in the transformation.
The clay bodies I am currently using, are Limoges 1400 porcelain and
Valentines, Audrey Blackman porcelain, fired to cone 9 in an electric
kiln. Some of the pots are selected after their initial firing and
reduced in a gas fired kiln, to create copper crystals, reds and
I came to ceramics in 1963. My work since then has embraced a wide
range of domestic stoneware and a series of one-off stoneware,
earthenware, porcelain and "Raku" pieces.
In 2000 Peter bought a house in southern Spain, where he retreat's to at the beginning of November until early April each year, so that during the grey wet English winters he will be throwing and biscuit firing his porcelain pots in the warm Spanish sunshine, ready to transport back to England for their glost firings.
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Contact DetailsStudio Address: Whilton Locks Pottery, Whilton Locks, Nr.Daventry, Northamtonshire, UK, NN11 2NH.
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Telephone: +44 (0)1327 842 886
Availability: Work can be viewed at Whilton Locks if prearraqnged by phone or e-mail.
Directions: Click opposite for detailed map and images of recent work.
Last Updated: 2011-06-27
Events featuring this potter
Art in Clay - Hatfield House : Art in Clay 2013
Vases & Bowls