Adam MacMillan
"Ancient Clam" Vase

Adam MacMillan
Crystalline Glaze Close Up

Adam MacMillan
Copper Red Vase

August Artist of the Month

Adam MacMillan

Exeter Fine Crafts is pleased to present Adam MacMillan of Surfside Ceramics as our August Artist of the Month. Working alongside his family, Adam creates stunning crystalline glazes on porcelain pottery.

Adam’s process begins with making hand thrown or formed pottery from porcelain. After allowing the pieces to air dry, he bisque fires the work, and then sands each piece, creating a smooth surface for the crystals to form. In nature, crystals only form when the conditions are perfect. To recreate these conditions on a piece of pottery is not easy. A high fire glaze process, crystalline glazes can be difficult to produce, with only a few potters working in this technique. Even with meticulous attention to detail, the combination of specific glaze formulation, application, and firing techniques, can still produce unpredictable results.

What happens during the firing stage often seems to be as much about luck as it is about chemistry. Going as high as 2400° F, this stage requires rapidly changing and holding temperatures around 2000° F to get the crystallization process to initiate. These temperature fluctuations can result in a wonderful array of crystal shapes, colors and sizes. However, even after following each step precisely, the success rate is only about fifty percent.

After the pieces emerge from the kiln, they are far from finished. Crystalline glazes need to be applied thickly compared to most pottery, as the glaze becomes completely molten and will flow off the piece during the fire. To account for the glaze run-off, each piece is fired on a separate pedestal to capture the excess glaze. Adam then uses a torch followed by diamond tools to separate, smooth, and polish the bottom of the piece. All too often, the pieces do not survive this step. It’s a tedious and frustrating process that few people have the patience for, but when it all comes together, the results are stunning one-of-a-kind pieces.

Adam learned the craft from his parents Richard and Teri whom have each been making pottery for about 50 years. He is a mechanical engineer by education and has spent over a decade making ceramics for the medical industry. He enjoys the technical aspects of ceramics, particularly glaze formulations, and has been making pots for nearly 20 years. With a combined experience of almost 100 years working in clay, the MacMillan family’s beautiful work can be found in galleries in Massachusetts and Exeter Fine Crafts.

Please join us on Saturday, August 19th between 12 and 3 pm when Adam will be here to talk about his stunning pottery! Exeter Fine Crafts is located at 61 Water Street in downtown Exeter. Stop by Monday through Saturday 10-5:30, or Sunday 12-4. Call 603-778-8282 for more information.

Exeter Fine Crafts • 61 Water Street, Exeter NH 03833 • (603) 778-8282 •
Gallery Hours:
Mon, Tues, Wed, Fri, & Sat 10 - 5:30
Thursdays 10 - 7 • Sundays 12 - 4

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