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Fichot Alain

Born 1952, works in Anost, France

I started out in the 1970s, working initially in wood-fired stoneware, then gas-fired.  With the growing interest in glazes I turned towards porcelain. For the last 15 years I have devoted myself to objects whose function is inessential, allowing me to pay special attention to crystalline glazing – or real ‘dream skin’.


In Europe, the history of the crystal glaze begins at the 19th century in Sèvres, France, followed by the Royal Porcelain Manufacture of Copenhagen and the famous Meissen Manufacture in Germany.

Contrary to popular belief, crystals are not put into the glaze!  The crystals actually start forming in the glaze during the chemical reaction while cooling and grow from small nuclei, which form during the melting process when silica and zinc come together to form zinc silicate.  My work is covered with homemade zinc, frit and titanium based glaze and fired up to 2300˚ F.  The temperature is then lowered to 2050˚ F so that the crystals develop.  The temperature may then be stabilised around 1830˚ F to achieve the rings around the crystal nucleus.  In order to vary colours, I apply a reduction atmosphere somewhere between 1900 and 1300˚ F that matches the colouring oxide used.  This also gives a ‘pearly’ look to the surface.

However fascinating the technical aspects, I should hope that the viewer concentrates on the kind of ‘poetry’ that I am trying to accomplish in each piece and can share the enjoyment that I derive from the finished piece.

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