“There’s a lot of heartache in the failures inherent in this process,” he says, “but that’s what drives me to keep at it.” –Duly Mitchell
Duly was introduced to pottery when he was assigned to Davis Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona, following a tour of duty in Vietnam. “I was interested in positive energy, in creating something that people would enjoy,” he says. That was in 1970. Today he continues to work out of his Tucson studio experimenting with this high-fire vitreous technique that requires upwards of 2,400 degrees and twenty hours in the kiln.
You’ll have to brush up on your physics and chemistry to fully understand the process by which Duly Mitchell creates his crystalline porcelain. But you only have to love classical refinement and perfection to appreciate his handsome vases and jars individualized by shimmering crystal wafers floating on translucent surfaces. These willemite crystals grow onto the surface in an unpredictable and random pattern in colors that range from champagne to adobe, aqua to cobalt blue and sea foam green. “Many people are familiar with commercial porcelain which is glaze fired at a lower temperature to avoid distortion.” Duly, however, must mature both the clay and the glaze at the same time, pushing the porcelain to its limit. Overcoming the unpredictability of the process has led Duly to develop a variety of techniques.