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Peter Sparrey

Peter Sparrey
Written by Marian Williams


  1. Greg · January 6, 2014

    Hi Marian,
    I love the Red Glaze on Peter Sparrey’s Wicked Wednesday WOW bowl, is this glaze listed in the Copper Reds?

    • Marian Williams · January 6, 2014

      Dear Greg,
      I love it too! But unfortunately I don’t have that glaze recipe??!! I think the trick is the clay it’s on and the right redux. I have several good recipes that are dependable, but none look just like that!
      If you find it! Let me know!
      All the best,

      • Greg · January 6, 2014

        Hi Marian,
        Thanks for your response, I have been firing Copper Reds in an electric kiln and the result is nothing like Peter Sparrey’s red. : )
        If I find a great red glaze I’ll be happy to share it with you.
        Greg Furney

      • Peter Sparrey · January 9, 2014

        Dear Marian,

        It is an honor to be your Wicked Wednesdays Wow…thank you!! Glad you like the red glaze.
        I would be happy to pass on how I fire etc. should anyone out there be interested.

        Kind regards,
        Peter Sparrey

        • Marian Williams · January 9, 2014

          Dear Peter,
          Hello! So glad you have seen my post! Your work is incredible!

          Wow! Yes! We would love to hear about how you fire, etc!! Anything you want to share is most appreciated!! As you can see from other comments, we are very interested in your glaze and how you get it!

          All the best,

          • Peter Sparrey · January 9, 2014

            Hi Marian,

            I use a gas kiln. The work I produce (in both stoneware and porcelain clay bodies) is bisque fired to 1020° Centigrade.
            My most commonly used/reliable glaze has a very simple soda feldspar/flint base with the addition of 1.5% copper oxide and 3% tin oxide. Reds can also be encouraged to develop by applying a thin iron base glaze underneath the copper red glaze e.g. in my case, a chun glaze containing 1% red iron oxide, dipped or sprayed, but care must be taken with glaze thickness…the combination of these two glazes is extremely fluid to say the least! I would suggest firing each piece on their own separate ‘mini’ kiln shelves with plenty of batt wash, or at least until an understanding of how the glazes behave is achieved (easier said than done!).
            I fire to Orton Cone 9 which is about 1280 °C. A typical firing cycle for me is to take the kiln temperature up gently to 1030 °C over the course of about 5 hours. At this temperature the dampers are closed in and heavy reduction begins and is held for 1½ hours. Temperature rise over this period of time is fairly small, approx. 50°. Next I fully open the dampers and start a 10 minute period of complete oxidation. This rapidly raises the temperature to approx. 1150°.
            Following this oxidation, the dampers are closed in again for another period of heavy reduction, this time for 1 hour. The temperature rise in this 1 hour period is even less than before, in fact the kiln temperature more often than not can be less than 1050° after this reduction. Next, another period of complete oxidation for 10 minutes, the temperature will shoot up again.
            Then more heavy reduction for another hour. Keep repeating this cycle of oxidation/reduction until the cones are showing the desired top temperature. With the heavy reduction cone 9 can be down at 1240° or even less. This is normal and I would not recommend continuing with the firing any longer, the desired heat work has been done. Finally, I turn off the gas and fully open the dampers to crash cool the kiln to 1100°, then seal the dampers at this temperature and let it cool naturally at its own pace. FIRING FINISHED!

            Hope this helps!!

            All the best,

          • Greg · January 10, 2014

            Dear Peter and Marian, thank you both for continuing the conversation about firing the red glaze.Your response is very generous. It is inspiring to see such beautiful work.
            Best wishes

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