Why does my Pottery Ping?

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Have you ever heard a peculiar 'pinging' sound coming from your pottery? This is usually a sign of a common pottery defect known as 'crazing.' Briefly, crazing refers to minute surface cracks that occur in pottery under tension. Let's delve deeper into this phenomenon.

Why does my pottery ping, you ask? It's related to a thing called crazing, which we'll delve into. Why does it continue even after many years? The answer might surprise you.

Read on to find out. We will examine why crazing happens, and how you can prevent it.

Crazing and Pinging

Crazing essentially is a group of lines and racks that happen over a glazed surface which is caused by tension. what’s crazy about this is that it can happen immediately, or years later.

Crazing can lead to a few interesting symptoms, such as:
  • Strange “pinging” sounds
  • Weakened pottery
  • Germs and bacteria flock to it
  • It can’t be used for anything
 If you do have some pottery that gets crazed, it’s best if you never use it for consumption because some areas aren’t glazed so it might harbor silica and other toxins which can cause great harm to the pottery.

Do different Vessels get affected by this?

Yes, the type of vessel does matter. For instance, porcelain tends to craze more than stoneware due to its finer texture.

Some factors that cause this include the following:
  • The type of clay
  • The glaze used with that
  • How much do you use the vessel
  • Any temperature extremes

The pinging happens because the vessel is weaker, and because of that, it’s not always a desirable thing. Pinging happens for long after it’s been glazed, and the cracks can grow over time if you’re not careful.

Creating Pinging Effects on Purpose

Yes, you totally can. Some like to create this on purpose for various reasons.

Ready to create some beautiful cracks in your pottery? Here are a few ways you can accomplish this:
  • Melting glass
  • Fusing it into a pot
  • Using white glazes
  • This process involves inducing cracks by rapidly cooling the pottery before it undergoes reduction and smoking. This might sound technical, but it's simply about controlling the temperature dynamics of pottery's surroundings.

Some people enjoy the beautiful, distinctive cracks that crazing creates - an aesthetic all their own. Yet, deliberately inducing crazing won't exactly benefit the pot.

That’s because, when you have this happen, every single pot becomes weaker, and tends to break apart.

Thus, if you do want to create this, make sure to consider the following:
  • There is more chance of it breaking
  • There is a chance the cracks will get worse
  • The pottery is significantly weaker than most
  • It is not used for food and drinks

It's always exciting to experiment with pottery. If you wish to try out crazing intentionally, go ahead! Just bear in mind the potential downsides.

When and Why Does the Glaze Fall Off, and How Can We Prevent It?

A common issue with pinging pots is the falling off of the glaze. This is due to the pot prone to breaking and not being watertight which presents a significant problem.

When crazing or pinging happens, here's how it changes the glaze:
  • It shrinks the glaze more than the clay body does
  • The tension occurs
  • The cracks happen
  • It can continue to happen until it stabilizes

However, some crazed pottery does stop pinging. Pinging can randomly happen over time, or it can be a temporary thing.

Look at Recipes

A surefire method to repair your pinging pots lies in revisiting your glaze. If you follow a certain clay recipe, tweaking it might be the solution. For instance, adjusting the ratio of ingredients, or experimenting with a new mix could do the trick.

pinging tends to happen when there is too much tension from the glaze, and if your glaze is too much for the clay or the wrong type, this causes issues.

Some ways to fix this instance include the following:
  • Make sure your recipe follows the instructions
  • If there is too much of one element, get rid of it
  • If you notice there is not enough, do change this
  • If the pottery glaze is meant for a certain clay body, don’t mix this

Pinging pots can usually be fixed with this, and it’s quite cool. On another note, certain elements, including those made with Celedon, tend to make it crack so much more often, so if you use recipes with Celedon, I suggest refraining from using them unless you want pinging pots.

Decorating These Pings?

Some potters like the effects of the tiny cracks that happen, and sometimes it’s desired.

There are some cool ways to decorate the pottery when it pings, and some of the cool ideas include the following:
  • Painting it over with black to showcase the crackle effects
  • Rub this away to create darkened cracks
  • Paint in the lines of this to create an effect

Now, some people like this for decorative reasons, but you should if you’re planning on selling this to anyone make sure that it isn’t listed as a functional piece.

Bear in mind not to open the Kiln prematurely! It can lead to unwanted pottery defects like warping or cracking. Ideally, the kiln should only be opened when it has cooled down sufficiently, to prevent thermal shock to your pottery.

Finally, don’t open your kiln early. If you do, this can make pots ping for a variety of reasons.

The reason this occurs is the following:
  • Too much heat is leaving too fast
  • The mixture of temperatures causes stress on the pot

If you do this, it can make the pot explode, so always be careful.

When you hear a pinging pot, it typically isn’t a complete cause for alarm, but instead, it’s a beginner’s mistake that can happen. However, if you are going for the crazing effect, then have at it just make sure you know that it can be much weaker than the other pottery made with the same bodies.

When crafting pottery, pay keen attention to the glaze type you're using to prevent pinging. It's all about the details, so keep creating beautiful pieces and happy potting!

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