Monday, June 17, 2013

can this glaze be saved?

The last month and a half pottery-wise summed up:
  •  Glaze tests on new glazes, but also layering old ones to see what works- still have a couple more I want to get to.
  • Working out whether or not certain glazes I've had around a while are worth keeping.
  • Trying out a couple of new (to me) hand building and wheel throwing ideas.
  • Plans to pick a couple of directions glaze and decoration-wise to be my main "lines".  I know I've said this before but I'm serious this time.
  • Some major studio clean and purge action.  Sometimes a hammer was involved.
  • Ordering supplies, including some items for a printing technique I want to try.
  • Reading almost endlessly about various printing techniques.
But I'll stick to just talking about glazes here. If there could be a positive to losing 99 % of my inventory in a fire it might be that it allowed me to let go of some things that weren't working so well, like glazes.  Fresh start, I guess. 
I have a propensity to experiment with new glazes.  Sometimes these little glaze tests (I usually mix up 200- 300 grams or a little more if I'm testing various coloration combinations) look great when fired on the test tile. But....sometimes the glaze doesn't meet expectations when used on actual pottery: The impact of the color and texture isn't as obvious on a test tile that measures only about an inch and a half wide by two and a half to three inches tall as it is on a cup or bowl.  Or, if it is prone to defects, such as pin holing, maybe it won't happen on that little surface.  In fact, I think it's guaranteed not to happen on a test tile. I had a few of these problem, or semi problem glazes taking up space in my little work area so I embarked on a Can-This-Glaze-Be-Saved project. Of the glazes I was considering for termination I saved one because it worked well when layered it with another glaze (pictures below), and one other which is still giving me problems but is so yummy I have to figure out how to make it work.  I don't make really large batches anymore so what was left of the few I tossed wasn't huge.  I used to make 5000 grams at a time, as in the better part of a Burger King pickle bucket.  I mostly mix 2000 or 3000 grams now.  If a pot is too big to dunk in that amount then brushing on the glaze usually works better for me. 

Here's one glaze, Blue Hare's Fur Variation in the Fetish Ghost's blog, although I actually found it first in Clay Times.  It is a nice iron blue with some variation where thin, but that's a very particular degree of thinness- too thin and it doesn't work.  And, for me, where it was thicker it was mostly a drab olive green.  One thing I haven't done is play around with the colorants, but playing around with layering it with other glazes has yielded some promising results.
Here it is alone with Randy's Red inside and on rim. A little overlapping of the two glazes where body meets the rim. This is not bad- less olive drab than usual.
 This is the Blue Hare Fur Variation over Licorice Black.  I like it. Subtle mid to dark blue variegation on a black ground, except for the brush swipe of a light blue opaque glaze which put a little violet in there! 
This is same light blue glaze over Blue Hare's Fur Variation.  Interesting.  Cloudy with a chance of...?

Tests, some new (of course), some variations of my existing glazes.  Ran out of test tiles so had to grab a knob.  Still some things to work out to get the results I want.- Always some things to work out.


  1. I always forget how long it takes to do almost anything in the glazing world. your post reminds me that I need to spend many more hours in the glaze world. Once I get there, i tend to like it! If I remember from the community studio where I was a part, Hare's fur can be a finnicky glaze...

    1. Yes. It's always difficult to put aside clay work in order to glaze, but once the glaze experimenting bug gets me I have a hard time knowing where to stop.
      I thought I was the only one not getting the hang of Hare's fur.


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