Crystalline glaze is unrivalled

by Ameer Ahmad

Salman Ikram is an unparalleled master of the crystal glaze.

Salman Ikram’s exhibition of crystalline glaze pottery titled ‘Crystalline Works’ opened on Tuesday at the Chawkandi Art Gallery.
Glaze is a liquid applied to the surface of pottery to seal colors and smoothen them. Crystalline glaze is a special glaze, which if used under the right conditions, could grow beautiful and, sometimes, spectacular crystals when the pot is being fired, but because they are tricky to fire and the losses are high, many steer clear of them. Salman Ikram is an unparalleled master of the crystal glaze.
His pieces with their strong oriental essence, satin smooth finishing and finely flecked with sheen, glow and sparkle as light catches the tiny crystals embedded just beneath the surface.
He uses both reduction and oxidation processes to create the desired effects and opts for the greater flexibility of gas firing. His pieces exhibit his total control of fire and glass as he explores materials and techniques, creating individualistic forms. There is a well-kept balance among texture, color and shape as he plays with the size, rim, neck or belly of the pieces and introduces delicate variations. Amin Gulgee gushed about Ikram’s work and stated that although his crystalline glaze was unrivalled, one must look beyond the glaze and appreciate his mastery at molding the pots to his will.
Originally presented in Daily Times, Sunday, 09 May, 2010