Technical Talk: Salt Glazing with Peter Meanley
25 May 2022
As part of our most recent gallery exhibition, ‘Peter Meanley: New Works’, which features new works by the renowned salt glaze potter Peter Meanley, Peter also held a Technical Talk at the Craft NI Gallery.
In this talk, Peter Meanley shares his technical knowledge of salt glazing with his customary generosity. This talk will appeal to ceramics students, craft collectors as well as practicing ceramicists who may want to learn about this technique and how to use it to get the beautiful results it can deliver. Peter is one of the very few ceramicists on the island of Ireland who specialize in salt glazing, with almost 40 years of experience and knowledge.
Peter Meanley has won international acclaim for his abstract spouted pouring vessels and his mastery of the salt glazing technique. Formerly Head of Ceramics at the University of Ulster in Belfast, Peter has been awarded a PhD for researching salt glazing in 1999 – a process which involves throwing salt into a kiln, whilst it is fired at high temperature, resulting in a characteristic ‘orange-peel’ pitted surface.
Peter’s work initially consisted of strikingly engineered teapots and other functional forms. In time, his focus and never tiring curiosity for the world around him and its possibilities led him to make new forms that can ‘contain liquid’ and can be used to pour from. His fascination with these new forms and his continuous exploration of the soda-fired process yielded the compelling spouted pouring vessels which form the core of this exhibition.
Apart from his spouted pouring vessels, the exhibition will show Peter’s puzzle jugs. A technically complex piece, the puzzle jug has a perforated collar, making it impossible to pour from, unless the drinker knows there is a hole, or number of holes which they must cover with their fingers, to allow the liquid to flow without spilling. The puzzle jugs were Peter’s lockdown project which he found inspiration for in the early medieval puzzle jugs which served not so much as a drinking tool but as a drinking game (a well-known example of this puzzle jugs is the Exeter Jug, which dates back to 1300 AD).