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Frogskin Ming Vase

Frogskin Ming Vase

Frogskin Ming Vase

By Benjamin Wade Owen Jr. (1937-2002) North Carolina
Stamped Ben Owen Pottery Shop circa 1980.  During the 1920’s, Ben Owen Sr., Wades father, was a potter at Jugtown Pottery.  While there, extensive research was done by the pottery’s owner, Jacque Busbee who created many of the colors for the pottery. Called by his middle name, Wade grew up immersed in the Jugtown experience of the Busbee era. When his father, Ben Owen opened his own shop, Wade turned some pottery but focused on the laborious tasks of kiln loading and firing, clay mixing, glazing and the numerous daily tasks that allow a pottery to function efficiently. He encouraged his young son Benjamin Wade Owen, III to develop pottery skills, and provided him with the love and support he had devoted to his own father's family business. Pots glazed in Frogskin glaze are coated with the same glaze as seen in the pottery’s Teadust glaze, only Frogskin is fired in the third or fourth chamber of the wood kiln, where salt is added at the very end of a firing. The sodium in the salt reacts the way bleach works on clothing—it bleaches the iron-rich Teadust glaze and creates an olive green to mustard colored finish, with a glossy surface. Historically, Ben Owen III’s family and many other potters in the Seagrove area became aware of a natural clay from Albany, NY (known as Albany Slip) that could be used as a glaze. They began to use this natural clay as a glaze, throwing salt into the kiln at the very end of a firing in order to get the aptly named “frogskin” green-to-mustard color and glossy surface.   
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