November 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

One of my projects for the winter is to learn a bit more about glazes. I have just dipped my toe into the exciting but fearsomely complicated area of glaze -making and I am intrigued by the alchemy of it all. I am intrigued by how you can make up relatively similar glazes and yet the results can be wildly different depending on the proportions of the raw materials, the clay body that’s used and the environment of the kiln (oxidation or reduction).

What makes a shiny glaze? or a satin one? or a matt one? This is the first thing I need to discover as I am trying to find a shiny glaze to glaze my bowls with (much more pleasant to use than a matt glaze – no scraping/scratching of spoons) and haven’t succeeded yet. The shiny glazes I have made have crackled terribly, which is not so good for domestic ware. This crackling has happened with quite a few of the tests. The books say ‘mix the glaze to the appropriate consistency’ but then don’t go on to describe that consistency (although I know that for the most part it is supposed to be that of single cream).

This glaze has crackled because (I think) it was applied to thickly. When I added more water it became much more matt and lost its greenness, except for around the edges.

I have done some test tiles…

and will do more of that over the winter weeks.

The books I have been using are Daniel Rhodes’ ‘Clay and glazes for the potter’; Cooper and Royles’ ‘Glazes for the studio potter’; and Emmanuel Cooper’s ‘The potter’s book of glaze recipes’. A book that has just come out (15th November, so in a couple of days) that I would like to add is Linda Bloomfield’s ‘Colour in Glazes’.

I am looking forward to my experiments and seeing what discoveries will be made.


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