Shino First…Really?

You have probably heard the saying…”Shino first or suffer the curse.” This saying pertains to mixing shino with other glazes when glazing a single piece. It is common wisdom to apply shinos first as they tend to be highly viscous, by their nature, and will allow the often less viscous overglaze to melt and flow well. The other way around  and there will be a high price paid for not heeding the shino first warning.

I , by nature, don’t follow rules too well, particularly those that pertain to art. I began experimenting with applying various shino types glazes over less viscous glazes, like tenmoku, chun reds, celadons and slips. By all that I’ve been told I would surely suffer “…the curse.” Turns out the old saying is not true, in fact the results were quite amazing and interesting, IMO.

I encourage some experimentation by breaking the rules.

The three yunomi in the image above were first glazed with Alberta Slip and let dry about half way, they were then glazed with CT Shino and left to dry over night. The cracking will begin to appear about 18-24 hours after glazing. If the cracking does not appear, the efforts in the following images will not be achieved. I’ve found that the cracking works best with the base glaze being applied on the thicker side. Notice the brownish crystals on the surface of the glaze, this is the soda ash migrating to the surface that aids in carbon trapping.

The image above is the fired result of CT Shino over Alberta Slip. Fired to ∆10 in reduction with an early reduction starting at 1560F.

The  image above is White Shino of Chun Red. Fired to ∆10 in reduction with an early reduction starting at 1560F.

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31 Responses to Shino First…Really?

  1. Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to seeing you at the Shy Rabbit Open House on December 4!

  2. Zygote says:

    The curse I’ve suffered when I put my toes over this particular line was blistering… real bad blistering. Admittedly, I haven’t pushed my luck since I learned the rhyme, but maybe it’s time.

    • shyrabbit says:

      Fetish, I’ve found several things that can cause this to happen. I’ve found higher iron content clay bodies don’t work too well for this technique and if the shino is too thick for the thickness of the glaze it’s over. Best results when both glazes layer are medium+ in thickness, always better to be too thick than too thin (for both). Try re-firing the blistered piece in the hottest part of your kiln and the blisters will heal over.

  3. Lisa LaPella says:

    Really gorgeous effect! I’m glad you dared to go there.

  4. Very good results, congratulations.

  5. Laurie Niswander says:

    Wow! Just beautiful!

  6. what do you use for the inside liner of the cup, not the crawl do you?

  7. Betty says:

    Your results were breathtaking. My work is fired cone 10 gas at the local community college. They have a shino glaze. I am inspired to try it now.

  8. Sherry Wells says:

    I was curious, having seen other shino second pieces, it this food safe or are their small craters food could migrate into and hind, not be surface enough to clean?

    • shyrabbit says:

      Sherry, I don’t have any “craters” or “pits” and yes, the surface is food safe. Occasionally I will get pieces with cratering, for those I simply re-fire them to “heal” the surface.

  9. Marcus L. Davis says:

    Beautiful results indeed. I especially like the Shino over Chun. I’ve never heard the rule, and considering how many hundreds of shino recipes there and how many clay bodies there are to put them on , I wouldn’t think there were no loopholes in it. Are you once, or twice firing? could be the difference.

  10. shyrabbit says:

    All my glazes are formulated to be applied to bisque ware, so I’m twice firing. Having said this, I’m seriously thinking about adjusting my glazes to single fire, I really look forward to the extra time saved.

  11. Bev Haas says:

    Wow Michael! Your results are amazing!!! Have you ever had problems with glaze flaking off during the firing and getting on other pieces, the shelves, and/or kiln walls? Or do you have a method to prevent damage from this–just in case? Thank you 🙂

    So sorry to hear about Malcolm Davis’ passing. Do you know if this is a technique that he enjoyed? He was such a guru with shino and was an amazing person to boot…

    • shyrabbit says:

      Hello Bev,
      Yeah, from time to time I do have pieces that slough off glaze in the kiln and I can generally tell before firing which ones might. I place these suspect pieces on “cookies” big enough to catch the drips. BTW, I wad all my pieces as well….

      Malcolm is a great influence to me…he will be missed by many.

      • Bev Haas says:

        Thanks Michael.

        Can I ask what you use in making your wads? I think I saw your firing temp is to Cone 10–yes? And are you firing in gas, soda, wood, other?

        I think I have seen some ^6 shinos for oxidation/electric firing and wonder if you’ve heard of anyone trying your technique at these temps and environments?

        On a different but similar note, I once had the chance to test a Malcolm Davis shino that had previously yielded an amazing even beaded crawl after being dipped. It had to go on very thick. When I tried it, I had to brush it on (since there was not enough to dip), which changed the beaded look to a spiral raised texture from using a banding wheel to brush it on. Have you seen/used a shino like this? Malcolm really did push the envelope…thank goodness 🙂

        Thanks again…

        • Anonymous says:

          Hi Bev,
          I use 50% EPK and 50% Alumina Hydrate for my wadding. I fire to ∆10 in reduction in my natural gas fired 20 cubic foot updraft IFB kiln.

          I’ve seen some ∆6 shinos, that IMO, weren’t too interesting. Shinos generally like to be fired hot. I don’t know of anyone, specifically trying to create similar results at lower temps. I think it might be an interesting challenge to try…

          Most all shinos will crawl when applied thick and the pattern of the crawling is highly dependent on how the glaze is applied. Here’s a link to one of my crawling shinos:

          • Beverly Haas says:

            Thanks for your wadding info! I kind of suspected that Shinos needed to go high–and more importantly–to be reduced, right? Ah, that’s interesting that most will crawl when thick. I wasn’t able to open your link, though, even though I cut and pasted to 3 different places. Would love to see the example of your crawling shinos.

  12. stef says:

    You had me at Shino… :0)

  13. shyrabbit says:

    So you’re a shino lover too…any examples I can see? I’m always interested in seeing what others are do with this glaze.

  14. Skeggjold says:

    White Shino of Chun Red WOW


    This is stunning I love it…….. (runs off to research this)

  15. Melody says:

    The pieces you have are very beautiful. I will have to try this! I have been working,with shino’s for some time now, love them….but I am having problems with blistering … Any thoughts?
    I have a small, 12 cu Geil fiber kiln. I start reduction at about 012 and fire for 8 – 8.5 hrs. The problem is in the upper back, left side, the top back both left and right corners. Would love to find a remedy so I can more forward and know the shino pieces are more reliable!
    I would appreciate any ideas!
    Thank you!

    • shyrabbit says:

      A few things come to mind. Are your shino glazes carbon trap with soda ash in them. I start my reduction at 1560F. Is your kiln an up or down draft, I’m assuming it’s a down draft? Who fires the kiln?

      • Melody says:

        Thank you for the reply! Yes, I have a downdraft fiber kiln. I have carbon trap shinos with soda ash in them. I fire my kiln and I do live in colorado! higher elevation. I start light reduction at 012. I do fire copper reds and Caledons with my shinos. Some shinos are dipped are dipped
        And some are sprayed. Any ideas? Thank you!

  16. Pierre Bilodeau says:

    Wow. That will be my new rule from now on. Don’t follow the rule and let you’re creation work free !
    Pierre Montréal

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