I am excited that my next book Science for Potters is coming out soon. The cover shows a pair of Atomic Bottles by Kate Malone, covered with atoms and crystals. The book will cover chemistry, geology, clay, crystals, the science behind colour and glazes. For anyone who would like to know a bit more about the science of pottery.
My latest article, in Ceramics Monthly September 2016, explains the science behind colour.
I am really interested in why things are coloured. When white light falls on certain objects, they absorb some colours of light and what we see are the remaining colours of light reflected from the object. Some objects, like trees and grass, use light as energy in photosynthesis and absorb red and blue light, causing them to appear green (the three primary colours which make up white light are red, blue and green). Other objects such as coloured gemstones and glazes have transition metal atoms in them, either as impurities or added intentionally. These absorb some colours of light by promoting some of their electrons to higher-energy orbitals. For example, cobalt silicate in glazes absorbs yellow light. The colour we see is the complementary colour, blue. The colour depends on the type of transition metal and the shape of the electron cloud around it, which can be different in a gemstone from in a glaze, for example, chromium impurities give a red colour in rubies but usually give a green colour in glazes. This is because the surrounding atoms in the ruby crystal are forced closer to the chromium atom than in a glaze.
The West Dean course has up to 10 students and costs £466 for four and a half days. West Dean is a beautiful old stately home and gardens near Chichester in West Sussex. It is a residential course unless you live nearby and can travel in each day. The accommodation and food is excellent and you can continue to work in the studio in the evenings if you like.
The Morley College course is new and costs £125 for 5x 3hr or 3x 6hr sessions. Morley College is in Lambeth, London, on Westminster Bridge Road near Waterloo or Lambeth North tube station.
The dates are
19 February -18 March 2016, Fridays 6-9pm for five weeks at the Morley College: Glaze making and understanding materials.
17-21 April, Sunday to Thursday, four and a half day short course at West Dean College: Understanding Colour in Glazes.
23 April -7 May, Saturdays 10am-4pm for three weeks at the Morley College: Glaze making and understanding materials.
Phew, that’s quite a lot of teaching for me. If you can’t come on a course, you can look in one of my books instead.