I have a love/hate relationship with shino glazes. Shinos are a type of glaze that is heavily dependant on the kiln environment, so you never quite know how they will turn out. Occasionally, you’ll get a result like I did with this mug. Instead of all of the wonderful burnt oranges and grey carbon trapping swirling around, I got white. Blah!
Now, I have nothing against the color white per se, it just isn’t my favorite glazing option. Fortunately, while I didn’t get the results I was hoping for I did get to do the next best thing to this mug – I inked it!
Shinos, as a glaze, don’t always fit the clay body as perfectly as other glazes and when it fires without the heavy reduction of oxygen in the kiln environment it tends to go white, but also tends to crackle. If you look closely at the picture you’ll see minute cracks in the glaze surface. Now, since I know that this can happen, I use a non-shino glaze as a liner on the inside of the mug to prevent any food safety issues from bacteria getting in the cracks.
These little cracks go all the way to the surface of the clay body and using india ink you can darken the cracks of the lines. It seems weird and it is, but it is also super cool. If you notice, I only inked some of the sections on this mug to help create a little bit more contrast and interest in the surface.
Since I’m essentially staining the clay body the ink won’t wash away (I’ve already scrubbed this mug to remove any residual ink) making it completely safe to use.
For those of you interested in learning more about shinos, as a glaze category, I’ve linked here to a great article on the origins and principles of shino glazes – they truly are a breed apart.
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