Copyright © Annie Cap, Crystalline Potter
I'm Annie Cap and I love crystals. They've been a passion of mine ever since I was very tiny. My mum loved rocks, too. I remember walking the beaches and lanes for hours looking for agates and shiny pieces of volcanic obsidian in Oregon and Washington states, before I moved to England. I guess you could call me a "magpie", as I've always been attracted to anything that sparkles, whether it's the light dancing on water, shafts of sunlight breaking through the clouds, or the brilliance in someone's voice.
So as you might imagine, when I discovered quite by accident that it was possible, although extremely difficult, to grow crystals within molten ceramic glazes--no one could stop me from trying. The genie was out of the bottle and I was off on an exciting adventure filled with highs and lows, including high temperatures and the chemistry of combining raw materials and oxides, like: quartz, cobalt, copper, manganese, celestine (aka strontium), vanadium, lithium, titanium, and many more.
When I first announced I wanted to make my own glazes, and specifically crystalline glazes, my tutor told me it was alchemy and how many before me had tried and failed. He cautioned that it could take many years and even decades to achieve, whilst kindly patting me on my back and encouraging me to learn to walk before I tried to run. Not bothered by this in the least, as I'd experienced this sort of response before when I had big, or inspired, ideas, I quietly started researching and creating glazes from scratch in my kitchen. And 193 tests later, I'd done it! I'd succeeded in growing crystals in the heat of the school kiln, which everyone, but me, thought impossible. I'm so grateful I believe anyone can do whatever they put their mind to. I now have my own kiln and the possibilities are endless.