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For many years I made some very stable glazes and did not get very experimental with my glazing. I knew what my glazes would do and it was pretty conservative. They were nice, functional and pretty but they weren’t “wow” and I wanted “ wow”
This year things, and I, have changed. Now that I can do pottery for pottery sake (and not just to pay studio bills) I have more time to really get down and learn more about the chemistry of glaze.
And it’s pretty exciting!
Taking a Glaze Chemistry Class or two
I started my journey with a self paced, online class by Matt Katz, an expert in glaze chemistry. Ceramic Materials Workshop. I took two of his workshops, “Glazed and Confused” and “The Middle Glazes”.Not being scientifically minded, these glaze classes were pretty hard for me at first but stuff stuck in my head because I was beginning to get a grip on what was happening in the kiln.
But I still didn’t quite know what to do with all this information and felt I needed a bit more structure and a class that would have me experimenting and doing more hands on learning.
For several years I followed another glaze expert, Sue McCloud who wrote some very helpful blog posts. When she started offering glazing classes I signed up for her, “What do Glaze Materials Do” class because I felt that was a missing piece it the puzzle.
I wasn’t disappointed, it gave me exactly the information I felt I was lacking when looking at, and making glazes. It was, and still is, an invaluable class and one I will watch several times, I am sure.
Because that class helped me so much I enrolled in her “Art of Glaze Chemistry” class which I am currently doing.
Our second experiment, called Subbing Fluxes, really helped me see how the different fluxes can make a difference. Not only in melt but in color changes!
If you want to see these results more close, check out my bookmark on Glazy.org which is where I keep all my glaze recipes.
I actually got to use one of my test glazes on a pot that has been sitting on my shelf waiting to be glazed! It was an experimental pot that used a new clay and a new technique. I just couldn’t figure out how I wanted to glaze it!
One of the green glazes I made in the test above really turned out nice. It was subtle and transparent and I thought it would work well on this piece that had contrasting dark clay and white slip. Since we mixed 200g batches of each of the tests, I had a bit left over in the cup. Just enough for this piece.
It did not disappoint! I was thrilled with the results. In fact, it was one of my favorite pieces I pulled from the kiln!
This week we go further into learning about the UMF and Stull map which will give us a better understanding of what a glaze will do before we even mix it!
Exciting times ahead!
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