May 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

Wednesday was intended to be a day of experimentation in the glaze room at Kirkgate Studios. It did turn out that way but not quite as I had intended.

Since looking at the work of Gary Wood, which I mentioned in an earlier post, I had thought that I would like to try a white interior and coloured exterior. For these five pots, I thought that I would stick with one exterior colour and apply it in different ways – dipped, painted, poured. So, I started to rummage through the buckets of glaze, with their attached test tiles, initially to find a white. I looked and looked but in vain. I discovered on asking the lady who runs the pottery room that there was only one stoneware white, which she showed me. It wasn’t what I wanted at all. It was translucent, speckled and a kind of grey/white. I wanted something smoother, more shiny and opaque. But I thought, what the hell, it’s a white and at least I would get to glaze something.

I didn’t expect to get the reaction I received from her. “I just don’t understand people who spend so much time making something, investing time and effort, and then go and throw the first glaze at it. If what you want isn’t there, make it yourself.” She was quite forceful but, of course, she was right. She told me to find a recipe and said that she would show me how to make it. Picking Emmanuel Cooper’s book of glaze recipes off the shelf, I ended up making 100g of glaze for 7 different whites and applied them to test tiles. I couldn’t believe how straight forward it seemed; I never thought I’d be able to make my own glazes. I didn’t have to just use what was there, I could try out different glazes and use the one that I wanted. That’s quite a realisation and writing this now it gives me a little adrenalin rush. So, I did the same on Thursday afternoon and made up 100g of 8 other coloured glazes – 2 different midnight blues, 3 greens and 3 deep brown/blacks.

I rushed to finish them because I knew that there was to be a firing on Friday. Unfortunately, they are still waiting to go into the kiln, as I was told by the man who loaded the kiln that they couldn’t go in on Friday because I’d only cleaned the glaze off the bottom of the tiles and not enough up the sides. “You’ll learn”, he said. My face was a picture (I was so excited to see the results) but I have learnt. I can’t go in this week anyway, as it’s half term, and I was told that there will probably be another firing on Wednesday.

I’ll hold my breath until then…

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