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AndreaB

Disastrous Glaze Prep How Do You Recover

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Morning to you all,

I've just had a disastrous weekend trying to glaze items for firing.  I don't have a large amount of any specific glaze so trying to make do is proving challenging to say the least.

I've had to scrape down to bisque most of the items and now have to start again.

 

How do you recover from a weekend from pottery hell?

 

I really enjoy the final result but the prep work gets to me.  I suppose I'm not yet experienced enough to go through a prep without problems. Part of the growing pains of experience!

:(  :(  :(  :(

 

Look forward as always to your advice.

 

Andrea

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I share your pain Andrea. Glazing is my downfall too. Done the scraping, starting again thing many times. Worse still just crossed my fingers and been totally disappointed after the firing!

 

All I want is to find/develop 3-4 reliable glazes that I can have sitting there in buckets - knowing that all they need is a quick stir and then go! When dipped the glaze will cover my pieces smoothly with no drips or runs. Any bare spots can be touched up without a problem and the pots can be easily handled thereafter. I'll press the buttons for my preset glaze program and when I open the kiln 24 hours later, I'll be greeted by an array of evenly glazed, beautifully coloured, shiny pots - no thick / thin spots, no crawling, no pinholes, no runs on the shelves. I'll be as excited as I am when I open a bisque firing. (....she woke up and it was all a dream....!)

 

I discovered a most forgiving low fire transparent that behaves just as described above, which was designed I suspect, for hobbyists, inexpert potters, or even those 'decorate your own plate' places that then glaze & fire for you. I tracked it back to an Italian company, and did once find a UK supplier, so when mine runs out I could replenish it, albeit expensively. What stops me doing this, and seeing if the same company also makes a mid-fire transparent, is the fact that over time and by various means, I have acquired various glazes, including this one, inexpensively - school/ college closing, potters retiring etc. and I'm loathe to waste things. I therefore spend /waste time and energy using a mishmash of glazes, whose ingredients I don't know (so can't 'tweak' if things go wrong) and could never replicate them if they turn out brilliantly. I have done test tiles, but the reality of using some of them on a pot doesn't always match the test. Also, I'm still experimenting with different clays, which adds another variable into the equation.

 

If I wanted to save my sanity and shed fewer tears, I'd dump all the tubs, small buckets, large buckets of 'stuff' I've accumulated over the past 3 years and start over. In fact, now I've written that down, the idea is most appealing!!!! I'm also thinking of looking up the 100% reliable Italian glaze supplier - see what this forum does for a person! I've rambled on to no good purpose, other than to offer sympathy and air my own angst, but hey ho that's not always a bad thing. Good luck!

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If you are looking to remove all the glaze from bisque the easiest way is straight under the tap with a sponge then give a few days to dry.

 

Have a week off glazing, find something new to get annoyed about then glazing looks fun again.

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If you are looking to remove all the glaze from bisque the easiest way is straight under the tap with a sponge then give a few days to dry.

 

Have a week off glazing, find something new to get annoyed about then glazing looks fun again.

 

Sadly Joel, three of the items I need to fire are on order and I'm already running late on delivery  :(  One question Joel, if the glaze is dark and leaves a brown colour on the bisque, will that affect the final glaze colour?

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ladies, it sounds as though you are devoting a great deal of time to things that do not work.  making your own glaze is not rocket science.  use a recipe tried and true.  there are lots out there. then think about how to apply it.

 

if you have a small container of precious, expensive, commercial glaze, you will probably brush it on, saving every drop you can.  it will come out bad because brushing is not accurate. you cannot brush- paint smooth layers getting everything the same thickness.  stop trying that.

 

if you make a large bucket of a glaze recipe you have tested yourself, on your clay, with your method of application, in your kiln, you will have a starting point. repeat each step so it becomes a habit so you can quit experimenting with method of application.  find out what works and repeat it.

 

dipping and pouring require more glaze than a tiny bottle contains.  try making your own bucket of glaze. bisque the pot.  dampen the pot with a quick dip into clean water.  let it dry a little.  dip it into glaze.  if it is too wet, the glaze will slide off.  wash it and wait.  try again.  when it is right, hold it in the glaze bucket for a few seconds, count to 6 is pretty standard.  take it out, put it down gently and it will probably have an even coating of glaze.  

 

some of the problems encountered by hobby potters are due to the lack of practice.  if you only produce a few pots, each one is precious. but you need lots of  practice in application.  make a simple shape, make many more of them, use them to practice application.  keep them as test tiles.  it is a process of education and will take time to learn.

 

rant over.

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If you are looking to remove all the glaze from bisque the easiest way is straight under the tap with a sponge then give a few days to dry.

 

Have a week off glazing, find something new to get annoyed about then glazing looks fun again.

 

Sadly Joel, three of the items I need to fire are on order and I'm already running late on delivery  :(  One question Joel, if the glaze is dark and leaves a brown colour on the bisque, will that affect the final glaze colour?

 

 

Some iron may be left behind. If another glaze is applied over it is will darken it insignificantly. Not much you can do about it... sometimes I will sponge all the way around just so if it does happen to show through it will happen evenly.

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So now you have stories for when you're a veteran potter, and the newbies are asking questions :)

I spent a whole day throwing nothing but jars and their lids one day in college. 8 hours. I was not very good yet, so I didn't come up with as many as I might now, but I was proud of the dozen or so that I'd done. I had the rickety old cart loaded up and ready to head to the damp room, and I moved wrong and knocked over the whole thing. I dropped a rather explosive F-bomb right in front of the sessional instructor (who was not given to cursing in any way) just as he was coming through the door right next to me. He's a good Saskatchewan farm lad who tended heavily towards all things common sense, and was a very even tempered human being.

He'd been watching me labour over these pieces on and off, so he looked at the pile of mush on the ground, looked at me and gave me some of the best advice I've been given on how to handle a frustrating day like that.

"Clean up and go home. Don't come back tonight. Have one beer. Only one. Try again tomorrow."

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