A Potter's Alphabet

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And C is for calcium, it’s hard and it’s white,

The same goes for D which is for dolomite.

E is for elements glowing red-hot,

Is it fun to replace them? Hell no, it is not.


F is for flint and for firing too,

Two things without which potting you cannot do,

G is for glazing, whether pour, spray, or dip,

H is hand-building: roll out, score and slip.


I is for iron, it gives brown, green and blue,

J is for jug, we’ve all made quite a few.

K is for kiln where we fire our pots,

L is for luck, of which we can use lots.


M is for matte glaze, it pleases the eye,

N’s nepheline syenite, known as neph sy,

O is for oxides, of which glaze is full,

P is for how we make handles: we pull.


Q is for quench: to add water to glaze,

R is raku, with effects that amaze,

S is for sponge and for shelf and for scale,

And S is for what pots are for: they’re for sale.


T is for throw and for turn and for trim,

And Tucker: oh, what would we do without him?*

U is for underglaze, use it to paint

Designs bold and garish or charming and quaint.


V is for venting the kiln’s smelly gas,

W’s for wheel and W’s for wax,

And wedging – that’s hard work, it makes us perspire,

Kiln elements give us our X, xanthol wire.


My grandmother always said that Y’s a crooked letter.

Perhaps you can think of a line that is better!

Z is for zircopax, Z is for zinc,

And that is the end of the alphabet, I think.


*Frank Tucker, of Tucker’s Pottery Supplies. If you are not in or near Toronto, you might substitute

T is for turn and for trim and for throw,

Do all of them well and they’ll say you’re a pro.