Seaweed pinch pot

Seaweed pinch pot

Thursday, 4 July 2013

the glaze quest

So, as mentioned in my last post, my current mission is to find a glaze that works on my stencilled iron oxide slip surfaces. I suspect I'm still in the early days of this mission. A few insights I've gained from my tests so far:
a) clear statin isn't really all that clear when put over iron oxide slip ... it's kind of milky and dulls the surface a lot
b) when a little iron oxide is mixed into a clear satin base there is sometimes an interesting opaque rusty sort of effect, but otherwise the colour is fairly dull semi transparent beige
c) weirdly, iron oxide mixed into white satin glaze changes it from opaque to transparent and from satin finish to high gloss! oh, the joys and mysteries of chemistry...
Actually, what I did probably doesn't count as a true glaze tests because I didn't even record percentage of iron oxide (would you even believe I'm trained in science!!). So findings b and c are pretty vague - just random experimentation really. 

Before I even gained the above revelations, impatient to get some finished pieces on my shelf,  I gambled on a few pots. I went with what I thought were safe glazing options. I got some ok results - like these two, which have a yellowish transparent glaze.

Sadly my gamble didn't pay off with some other works though - I think I ruined a few. I know. I should test. Evidently it is with good reason that those who actually know about glazing always go on about testing. 

Speaking of testing - I tried mixing a couple of glazes from raw ingredients for the first time this week. I'm motivated partly by budget and partly because I want to understand glaze better. Truth is I find glazing daunting and my lack of experience in this area has meant quite a few disappointments when picking up my fired work. Can't yet tell you how my debut glaze making went as my test aren't back from firing. Bit nervous....

Looking forward to getting back to making in my clay time next week. Thought I'd finish with an image of lovely winter oak branches I was hanging out under with the kids last week, as I just love these. One day I'll do a huge pot with winter branches stretching over it's surface.


  1. That's amazing, those variations on your test buttons. And the cups look lovely. Why don't you try reglazing the things you didn't like so much? You might get some interesting effects. I think I've got a similar approach to 'testing' - getting carried away by the excitement of it all and ditching quantification!

    1. Thanks Georgia - that's a great suggestion. I've never re-glazed a fired, glazed piece before so I'm not really sure how to even go about it (how do you get the glaze to stick, for example) but it's good to know it can be done. More random experimentation coming up!

    2. I've heard of people sanding the piece first so the new glaze has something to grip to. But I've just re-dipped pieces and it just kind of pools in any low points in the surface, which can give lovely effects in those spots. Or try overglaze/enamel to make more intentional patterns ... so many options!

    3. Thanks heaps for the tips - really appreciated. I'll give it a shot once I have some time to puddle about with glaze again. I'm itching to get some new stuff made right now so might hold back a little with my glaze explorations for a week or two.

    4. AH its me ....
      just warm the pot up in the microwave or oven a bit , the glaze should stick :)

    5. Thanks for that tip, Adriana. Do you know if there is any point in attempting to re-glaze when the problem I'm trying to rectify is the original glaze not being transparent enough? My clear satin came out all milky over my slip work. I'm happy to go with a tinted transparent, but don't want to cover the slip work entirely.