Glazing

As you may know, I have been working a lot on the glazing process of ceramics.  Last week I went over the steps you take to make test tiles, and why making test tiles for glazes samples is so important. Well this week I want to talk a little more about the actual process of making and mixing up glaze samples-or large batches. This is going to be very brief and just touch the surface of all there is to know about mixing glazes-there is soooo much information!!!  There are people in the ceramics world who don’t even focus on actually making pottery-but rather dedicate all their time on creating new glaze recipes and experimenting with pigments and percentages of different chemicals.  There are entire classes offered at some universities that are strictly there to teach the properties of all the different chemicals in glazing along with what they will do if fired in different environments-oxidation, reduction, cone 10, cone 6…the list goes on.  You can see how this can all get overwhelming very quickly- so for this post I am going to show you the basics-tools you will need, how to measure chemicals, and the proper way to mix your glazes.

1.  You will need to find some glaze recipes to test.  I mostly find mine online from other potters who like to share their recipes, or I ask fellow ceramic artists if they know of a recipe for the color and texture I am looking for.

 

IMG_3892

Glaze Recipes.

2. Some supplies you will need( aside from your chemicals in your recipe):  A Respirator or face mask (to keep dry particles away), small containers with lids, a scale to measure grams, labels (to keep track of what ingredients are in your recipe, what cone to fire it to and the date made), a cup for water (easy way to add water to your dry ingredients), a sieve (to pour your glaze through and get rid of large particles), a spatula ( to help run your glaze through your sieve and collect glaze from containers), an extra container (to sieve your glaze into), a hand held mixer/blunger (this is optional), a sponge (for cleaning up messes), and a scoop (to collect and measure your ingredients).  I forgot to get a good picture of everything you will need, but here is a picture of the sieve, spatula and water cup I use, the rest of the items are pictured in the steps to come.

Spatula, Sieve, Water Cup.

Spatula, Sieve, Water Cup.

 

3.  measure out all of your ingredients using the scale and put them into your container, make sure sure you mix the dry ingredients well before adding any water. 

Measuring Out Dry Ingredients.

Measuring Out Dry Ingredients.

Bins Of Bulk Dry Ingredients/Chemicals.

Bins Of Bulk Dry Ingredients/Chemicals.

 

4. Add water to your dry mix and mix well, you can use your spatula for this or a small mixer which is what I am using in this picture. Typically I start out using a spatula, then blunge it before I send it through the sieve. Make sure you add a little at a time so you don’t accidentally add too much water making it too watered down.  A trick I use to see if the glaze is a good consistency is to stick my finger in it-if the lines of my knuckle show, but not too much of my skin-it’s a good consistency. 

Adding Water To dry Ingredients.

Adding Water To dry Ingredients.

Blunging The Glaze.

Blunging The Glaze.

Checking The Consistency.

Checking The Consistency.

 

5. Send your glaze through the sieve to get rid of all large particles.  This is where having an extra container comes in handy. I send it through the sieve two times, so the glaze should end up back in its original container. 

Pour Glaze Through Sieve.

Pour Glaze Through Sieve.

Using Spatula To Help Push Larger And Thicker Particles Through.

Using Spatula To Help Push Larger And Thicker Particles Through.

The Left Over Stuff To Be Disposed Of.

The Left Over particles To Be Disposed Of.

 

6. Put a label on your lid for your glaze recipe so you can reference it later to make more or change the recipe around as well as keep track of your waste/hazardous waste.  It is important to dispose of your materials safely and not just dump them down the sink.  Here is a link for a pdf for more information about hazardous waste disposal.

http://fhdafiles.fhda.edu/downloads/busfhda/GlazeandClayWaterManagement.doc

Containers Sealed Tightly And Labeld.

Containers Sealed Tightly And Labeled.

 

WHAT’S PLAYING ON THE RADIO:

This week I have had this song in my head..try not to get it stuck in yours!

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One thought on “Glazing

  1. I just went to a ceramics painting place last weekend and decorated a cappuccino mug, and it was cool to see the whole glazing/firing process. I liked this post because it gave me a better idea of what the glaze actually is and it made me want to go back and so more stuff with ceramics!

    Also, I love Nancy Sinatra. Good song choice 🙂

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