Bill Campbell is one of my favorite artists and potters. When I was first discovering and reading up on crystalline glazing it was Bill Campbell’s work and name that I came across and I was instantly hooked! To me, he has made the crystalline glazing famous and I am a proud owner of one of his pieces!
Campbell started making pots in 1969 and studied art at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, where he earned his BFA. Campbell has expressed that he became interested in crystalline glazing when he was trying to solve a pinholing problem. Since his glaze formulations were already very similar in composition to crystalline glazes, he began to get pretty interesting results by varying temperature and time of his firings, trying to eliminate pinholes. (Pinholes are small dots of unglazed or depressed areas appear in the surface of the glaze. This can happen when gases in the glaze or clay bubble up to the surface and pop, leaving a small hole behind.) There are a few remedies to help eliminate pinholes like, firing the kiln to a hotter temp and soaking (holding the temp) the kiln. I’m sure as Bill Campbell tried this, he saw that crystals were starting to develop when he soaked the kiln. This opened up a huge door for Campbell and gave him a whole new direction to take his work.
Bill Campbell on his work, “Once I was able to grow crystals with some degree of reliability, I became interested in working with colour. I started to experiment with glazes that would be compatible to my crystal glazes, using them to make the surfaces more exciting…I love working with clay, but I also like mechanical devices. Having the machinery I do keeps me interested in my work. It also allows me to do what I like to do best: design and development. ” (excerpt from Diane Creber’s book, Crystalline Glazes)
One thing I love about Campbell’s work is that it serves for both functionality and aesthetic purposes. He is largely successful, creating award-winning porcelain potter for over 3o years not only in his pottery but in other parts of life too. I hear he is quite the banjo player and loves to fly planes!
This mug is my prized piece by Campbell himself. To check out more about Bill and see a great variety of his vibrant and rich work, check him out online at… www.campbellpotterystore.com