Terra Madre
The Crystalline process
     At D. R. Downs Inc. we start with our own porcelain formula and mix our own clay. We then form the porcelain into original designs by Rose Downs. Each piece is hand finished to ensure the highest quality. Each and every Urn is considered a unique handcrafted work of art. The work is then fired to 1900 degrees Fahrenheit. The pottery is then prepared for the glaze firing.

     The crystals in our glazes are formed by supersaturating a glaze with zinc and silica. Glaze is then applied to the pottery and fired to 2400 degrees Fahrenheit. After reaching this critical melting point, the work is then rapidly cooled to between 2050 and 1950 degrees Fahrenheit and held at that temperature for a period of up to 10 hours. It is during this part of the firing that the crystals are actually grown. The glaze must be fluid in order for the zinc and silica molecules to migrate together and form the zinc-silicate crystals. Because of this fluidity, the glaze actually runs off the pottery. Each piece of pottery must have a stilt and a basin to collect the excess glaze that runs off the work. This means that for each urn you purchase, we have made six pieces of pottery; one urn body, stilt, basin, one lid, stilt, and basin. The entire process is both time consuming and laborious.

     After 36 to 48 hours from the beginning of the firing, the kiln is ready to unload. At this point the basin and stilt have been "glued" to the piece by the flowing glaze. We remove the stilt and basin and grind the edge of the pottery to produce a beautiful work of art.

     Due to the nature of the glaze, no two pieces are the same. We cannot control placement of the crystals and only minimally control the size of the crystals. You can be assured that the art you purchase from us is unique; there will never be another urn identical to yours. Our urns are hand crafted, these works are not made by machine. You may find a finger print or other mark in the clay of your urn. This reflects the makersí hand and we consider that to be an asset. Each piece is inspected to assure quality, any work not meeting our exacting standards is destroyed. Our name is only as good as our product and we dearly protect both!

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