In the 1820's, a new American pottery tradition began in the backcountry of North Carolina. The potters suddenly started using an ancient ash glaze from China to coat their European pottery forms. Evidently, this was the result of clever investigation and the resourcefulness of German potters moving into the Catawba Valley region from Pennsylvania via the Great Wagon Road. A high temperature, easily obtainable glaze was needed as a healthy alternative to lead glazing. It is unknown exactly who is responsible for bringing the recipe here. However, it was immediately adopted as the preferred glaze.
Although native to Asia, the beautiful and challenging ash glaze has found a home in the Catawba Valley pottery tradition for the past 200 years. Known locally as Alkaline, this glaze continues to intrigue a growing number of potters and customers both near and far.
My Alkaline glaze formula:
7 parts hardwood ash
3 1/2 parts glass (or glass forming material)
2 parts clay slip
Add Iron to taste