December 18, 2017

Glazes

GLAZES USED BY VAN BRIGGLE ART POTTERY,

LISTED IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER

GOLD ORE GLAZE

If you have not seen the Gold Ore Glaze pieces by Van Briggle Pottery; they are somewhat difficult to find.  Produced in 1956 for only a few months, the pieces are limited in numbers.  They do occasionally pop up at antique shows and sales, but are more often than not unidentified.  The clay color showing on the bottom is a beige-color similar to other pieces known as “Anna Van” produced by Van Briggle with a tan, smooth clay during the 1955-1968 period.

A Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph article states “SOMETHING NEW…Visitors to the Van Briggle Pottery have long been interested in such things as ‘throwing on the potter’s wheel’ and the huge kilns in which pieces are baked, but this year they’ll see something new – the dipping of pottery pieces into a solution containing gold.  After being dipped the pieces are glazed.”  The article continues by saying that powdered gold ore from Cripple Creek Gold Mines is incorporated to give the final product a speckled effect.

Several different Van Briggle designs have surfaced, and most bring high prices through online auction, due to the novelty of the glaze.  One report of a Gold Ore Despondency has been documented; however, most of the pieces are of small to medium size.

Several different bottom markings have been noted.  Some pieces will have “Gold Ore Glaze Made in Colo Spgs.” on the bottom – with or without the addition of the words “Van Briggle”;  others will have a “G” within an “O” indicating Gold Ore, and “by Van Briggle Colo. Spgs.”

In today’s market – obtaining a Van Briggle Gold Ore Glaze just might be the easiest way to own your piece of gold!

 

MOUNTAIN CRAG BROWN

First advertised as “the browns and greens found in a mountain crag!”  This has also been described as a honey brown with green over spray.

Later, the name was inadvertently recorded as Mt Craig; and remained as such until the early 1920s literature was located!

Produced during the 1920s until the Flood of 1935, when the formula was lost.

A potter who remembered the formula, made one batch of Mt. Crag Brown in the 1950s.

 

ROUNDHOUSE BLUE

Roundhouse Blue

During Van Briggle Art Pottery’s relocation from the Roundhouse in the fall of 2008, a room was opened upstairs which had previously been sealed shut. When the door was pried open, the 5 ft. x 8 ft. room was found to contain a fine white powder approximately 3 feet deep. Craig Stevenson was consulted, and it was determined that this was the exhaust from the spray booth dust collection system. Under the assumption that this was all glaze material, the decision was made by Craig to collect this powder for possible future use by the company.

In May 2009, after the pottery was in operation at 1024 S. Tejon St. location, Stevenson added water to a sample of the powder and dipped a V4 (for 2004)butterfly bowl, etched by D.R. and bisque fired in 2004. The result was a higher gloss than desired, and somewhat uneven and speckled; however, it was a beautiful denim blue in color.

Stevenson granted Ned Tonge permission to continue working with the glaze. Gary Dhondt, master glazier at Van Briggle, was consulted and he taught Ned the current method of mixing and refining a small ten pound batch of the powder. Another butterfly bowl poured in red clay, etched by Candy Curtis and marked AO (for 2010) was used with this test batch. Not certain of the amount of glaze to use, Ned dipped the butterfly bowl into the glaze, drained it, and then turned it upside down and dipped it halfway again. When this was fired, the double-thick part was a beautiful matte denim blue with a speckled finish. It was then that the staff knew they had something special!

The name “Roundhouse Blue” was suggested by a long-time friend of the pottery; and the glaze was placed into limited production. Ned, Candy & Gary have produced some dramatic effects with this glaze on butterfly bowl, dragonfly, rabbit and a few other molds.

While the “exhaust spray powder” might be analyzed for reproduction; it was this 40+ year of accidental accumulation that yielded a most remarkable glaze effect!

Information provided by Ned Tonge.

 

RUSSET

Russet was in use from approximately 1978 to 1983.  

Robert Wyman Newton recalls the story that he designed the “monkey mug” shortly before 1978; and they were produced in Moonglo.  He thought it inappropriate to have a white monkey; and encouraged them to develop a brown glaze.  Jeff Stevenson was a young man working at the pottery at that time, and experimented with the glazes until he developed what is now known as Russet.