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yedrow

A humbling insight.

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I am coming to the conclusion that if one doesn't have a glaze that matches his/her work, it is worthless to throw nice pieces. I throw things that look great when green, but as soon as I put the glazes I presently use on them they turn to crap. This stuff is hard. Not only is glaze color theory full of gaps, but the intricacies of surface as they work with glaze variegation are elusive and complicated. Again I'm facing this no-man's land with glazes that sell no matter what you put them on and the yet unknown glazes that make my work complete.

 

It is extremely frustrating.

 

I hate thick red glazes :(

 

Now back to pulling what little hair I have left out.

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I am coming to the conclusion that if one doesn't have a glaze that matches his/her work, it is worthless to throw nice pieces. I throw things that look great when green, but as soon as I put the glazes I presently use on them they turn to crap. This stuff is hard. Not only is glaze color theory full of gaps, but the intricacies of surface as they work with glaze variegation are elusive and complicated. Again I'm facing this no-man's land with glazes that sell no matter what you put them on and the yet unknown glazes that make my work complete.

 

It is extremely frustrating.

 

I hate thick red glazes :(

 

Now back to pulling what little hair I have left out.

 

 

I like the mugs you have in the gallery section of your profile. The handles are really nice. I can imagine them looking great with several glazes sprayed on the way Steven Hill does it. Just hang in there. You're figure it out and then be glad you grew because of the need to rethink glazing.

 

Jim

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Patti Warashina said Clay is the most humbling media and we must be crazy to work with it.

Glazing is an evil necessity. Most clay people I know really hate glazing.

It just has to happen. Takes lots of practice to get the right application after learning to know the precise glaze you are working with.

 

Marcia

 

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I am coming to the conclusion that if one doesn't have a glaze that matches his/her work, it is worthless to throw nice pieces. I throw things that look great when green, but as soon as I put the glazes I presently use on them they turn to crap. This stuff is hard. Not only is glaze color theory full of gaps, but the intricacies of surface as they work with glaze variegation are elusive and complicated. Again I'm facing this no-man's land with glazes that sell no matter what you put them on and the yet unknown glazes that make my work complete.

 

It is extremely frustrating.

 

I hate thick red glazes :(

 

Now back to pulling what little hair I have left out.

 

 

I have to agree with everything here. Glazes challenge me more than anything else about making pots. I love the green clay after it is constructed, and the bisquefired ware that has not been glazed still appeals to me. Put a glaze on it, put it in a kiln, and it is hit or miss when the kiln is opened up. Some days I seem to have it right on, others I'd rather not talk about. Lately I have been playing more with slip on the greenware, and then layers of glaze over top. Comes to the point where I believe I will be spraying my ware in the near future. Now where were those plans for a spray booth. . . . .

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Yeah, we all run into this problem. I always tell my students to have an idea of how they are going to glaze a pot before they even start throwing it. That way the glazing is not an afterthought. Sometimes you need to design the form around the glaze, sometimes the other way around. A good example is if you are dipping to apply glazes on a pot that won't fit in the bucket. Make the form have lines or separations in it that allow you to hide where two dip lines come together. Trying to figure out how to treat the surface only after the piece has been bisqued will just make it more difficult. And test, test, test those glazes on small pots. Mugs are great for this, because even if they don't come out great, someone will want to buy them.

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It would be beneficial to stop throwing pots for a month or two and concentrate totally on glaze tests.

Make a couple hundred glaze test tiles and try out your ideas on them before you wreck a perfectly good pot. Take notes and reference them all by numbers painted on the tiles so you will always know what you did.

Every single potter whose glazes you admire has boxes of fired test tiles somewhere ... the skill comes from practice and patience and trials. It is not fun, it is sometimes boring, frustrating and endless ... but when the aha moment comes .... Priceless.

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I understand why you feel that way. I tell my students to not even consider using a glaze on a pot before they have done several glaze tests with that glaze, dipped, sprayed , over and under other glazes, and on flat and also verticle surfaces. Some of them resist that idea for a long time and spend many hair pulling days and/or months where you are.

The solution is to do as Chris says. Stop making pots for a bit and make LOTS of test tiles. I use # and letter stamps on them so as to be able to identifiy the glaze used. I keep the key in a notebook untill fired then write the glaze name on the tile with permanent fine line sharpie markers.

I extrude the tiles. Easy and quick. I make the tiles out of dark clay and then when leather hard, brush one side of the tiles with white slip, so I can see what the glaze looks like on both clays with one tile and dip or firiing

After I find glazes I like from the test tiles, then I make tiny pots, little vases or again extruded forms. So unimportant that I don't care what my results are. I glaze those little things with any new ideas I have, and judge the results. Some times the results are great and I sell lots of the little buggers at craft fairs!

 

Now I am ready to use that results on bigger pieces, but still not on things I consider important work. I work my way through the process this way and am much happier with the results of the bigger pieces results.

Still have some disappointments, but not nearly as much as where you are. Get testing, It will make you happy and won't take all too long.

I keep all tiles, never know when I might like a glaze that I don't like now.

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It helped me a great deal to make my glazes thin, which was counter to how I learned many years ago. With a simple matte white, the clay and all the things I do to it shows through.

 

 

 

 

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I do most bass ackwards so of course I imagine the glaze/ glaze combo or a glazed finished piece first, then make the form.

 

Maybe try that once or twice and see if it breaks through the roadblock.

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Thanks for the suggestions all. There are to many for me to attribute each, so thank you all.

 

I can't stop throwing, I wish I could. I'm doing test tiles, finding results I like, then discovering that They don't necessarily work when they are fitted on a taller piece, like a mug. There is a Zen to this. I think it may involve falling backwards into a pillow you've never seen. Either that or the "crazy" thing is right and I just haven't hit myself on the head with a hammer enough.

 

Oh, and going thin is where I'm headed at the moment. Thin and matte. And I need a good ^6 slip that has movement in it. I'm thinking something with CaCo, OM4, and some Neph Sy to get it to move.

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I feel for you! There is no doubt that glazing is the most difficult part of the process. If you can buy a tiny test kiln, you can really go to town. But testing is honestly the best thing one can do to improve their knowledge and temper their perspective.

 

At the moment, I am enjoying applying a wax resist on top of the glaze, and when dry, using a wide hake to paint on a mixture of stain and water. If the fire is good, everything will melt together and harmonize.

 

Best of luck to you.

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You can always try to use more texture and just a clear glaze, instead of colour glaze.

I like stuff with a lot of texture, or grog mixed with the clay.

If you make a mistake with coloured glaze it is always a disaster, but texture is more subtle and you cannot fail as spectacularly.

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A little too much emphasis on testing in these replies. Sure, you may need to test enough to get a good pallet of glazes but don't over do it. The whole attitude here seems somewhat wrong to me: sort of glazing as a necessary evil, a separate process added to the making, way too much emphasis on it. Glazing is just one of many ways to finish a pot. Some potters couldn't care less about glazes and just have a few liner glazes that they sometimes use. Consider woodfiring and sagger firing (not just the low-fire pit stuff but high fired saggering), colored clay, salt, etc., etc.

 

Jim

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If yedrow had just asked for different ways to do surface treatments it would have brought different answers, but this person seemed genuinely distressed that he/she could not master glazes to the extent that the pot was improved by his/her choices rather than ruined. The only way to 'master' glazing is to test various glazes until you find the fit for you. There are no magic short cuts.

I don't think it would have been helpful to tell them to forget glazing when glazing is what they wanted to learn.

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If yedrow had just asked for different ways to do surface treatments it would have brought different answers, but this person seemed genuinely distressed that he/she could not master glazes to the extent that the pot was improved by his/her choices rather than ruined. The only way to 'master' glazing is to test various glazes until you find the fit for you. There are no magic short cuts.

I don't think it would have been helpful to tell them to forget glazing when glazing is what they wanted to learn.

 

 

I don't see where anyone above said "forget glazing" and it is certainly pertinent to suggest to someone concerned about glazing that they may want to think outside the box instead of echoing the same old unimaginative, but obvious, stuff about testing, testing, testing, and more testing. Also, the "... only way to 'master' glazing is to test various glazes until you bla bla bla..." is wrong. You can test until you die and still not achieve the mastery of glazes that someone may achieve by changing his or her approach to glazing.

 

Jim

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I am coming to the conclusion that if one doesn't have a glaze that matches his/her work, it is worthless to throw nice pieces. I throw things that look great when green, but as soon as I put the glazes I presently use on them they turn to crap. This stuff is hard. Not only is glaze color theory full of gaps, but the intricacies of surface as they work with glaze variegation are elusive and complicated. Again I'm facing this no-man's land with glazes that sell no matter what you put them on and the yet unknown glazes that make my work complete.

 

It is extremely frustrating.

 

I hate thick red glazes :(

 

Now back to pulling what little hair I have left out.

 

 

Good morning,

I am a newbie, and while I sell some of my simpler stuff, such as windchimes and bowls, I don't depend on consistency of glazes to make a living, so my view of glazes is a little different. Plus, I have a great teacher, and it is very easy to glaze at her studio. The glazes are all in big 5 gallon containers, easy to dip.

 

But I find glazing the most exciting part of pottery!! Throwing is hard still, I am not yet consistent, trimming can be boring, but glazing??? Every time I go to class, I am so excited to see what my glazes did in the kiln!! It is a bit mysterious! Magical!! That's it, I find it magical, like Christmas morning! I love not always knowing exactly what will occur!

Best,

Nancy

 

 

 

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If you have the time and inclination, throw a bunch of toothpick holders as glaze test pieces to practice application , combinations etc. Also do test tiles to hang around your studio. There are lots of glaze recipes out there. begin with the ones you have been using and work with them, adjust, change colors, whatever you are looking for. I love my test kiln for this purpose. It just takes some focused time to work out your glazing. My favorite glaze I use over my resist carved pieces actually came from a mistake glaze, one in which I mixed the wrong amount of flux. At least I caught it in my notes.Always keep good glaze notes. Imperative.

Marcia

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I firing in my test kilin right now. I test and fire product at the same time since testing a glaze is a long running process that can take months to complete and must be applied to the range of surface the potter is aspiring to. I read a Ferguson the day I first started (posted by the pugmill) that recommended to the potter that he/she first learn technique, then form, then kiln/glazes, then surface. I've tried to follow that recommendation since I intuitively fear that skipped lessons tend to remain mostly skipped throughout life. Some things have their best places in any process. This is especially true for pottery.

 

That being said, matching a glaze recipe to a pot is hard, waaayyyyyy hard. I do get lucky, but mastery of this means glazing the pot before the clay hits the bat. I'm getting intimidated by that I think.

 

I too have my home glazes in 5 gal. buckets. I'm mixing 5kg a pop. I'm mixing out of Roy's/Hessleburg's book and Chappells. I'm going to be mixing out of Cushing's book in the next few weeks and have used at least one glaze from this site. I also plan on soon attempting to create a eutectic trough per Currie's method, just to see what is happening where does-work and doesn't-work meet.

 

I'm really throwing myself at this and perhaps that is as much my problem as anything. Too much information too fast meeting too many failures.

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Wow;

Some great discussion between Chris and Jim. You both have good points.Yedrow needs some help here from an experienced potter who can look at his/her work and see what the problem is.

I have just returned from my Spring mother's day sale at my co-operative studio. I unloaded a cone six firing of one woman so the I could quickly get in a load of mother's day gifts for Boy Scouts. This kiln load was a lot of those French butter dishes-you know,with a lid with a long flange where you put butter? Anyway, all of this woman's glazes were a thick goopy green, and many of them had run. What she had done was make separate tiles underneath each piece to catch the drips. I looked at her work and could see that she had a glaze application problem. Her glazes were on way too thick. Probably two layers of glaze as well.

Sometimes it just takes a more experienced potter/teacher to give some kind advice in a helpful way. Glazing is tricky. Getting the thickness correct comes with experience. Yedrow is making a cry for help here. He/she needs someone in the area to show her the way.

Ain't pottery grand?

Happy Mother's Day.TJR.

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I volunteered a lot of time loading/unloading kilns at the studio I take classes and teach. One of the benefits was the opportunity to see other potter's work . . . both newbies and experienced . . . and how their glazing turned out. To me, it was well worth the time invested as I learned a lot about what combinations worked and which ones were disasters in the making, which applications were too thick, too thin, etc. I've heard squeals of excitement when someone gets their work back; I've heard the disappoint, too.

 

The comment I heard most in the glaze room was how much people liked making pottery, but hated glazing it . . . mostly because they were not happy with the results. As an instructor, I believe we spend far more time working with students on making pots, but very little time on glazing. Most of the other instructors I shared that observation with agreed. Some students are willing to put in the time; others seem less interested. It shows in the results. I've often though that studios should offer a class on glazing . . . no class throwing or hand-building, you bring the bisque to the class and each week you learn/try a different glaze technique. Wares are fired between classes and critiqued at the next session. Repeat cycle for 8 weeks.

 

There is a lot of trial and error in matching glazes to different size and shaped wares and different clay bodies. Transparent, opaque, glossy, matte, etc. were all terms and effects that were confusing to me at the beginning. With time I was able to figure out which ones to apply to particular forms and surfaces and clay bodies. Some items I make are glazed with only one particular glaze . . . both match. Others, well, sometimes you get it and sometimes your best intentions don't work out. But you learn and move forward.

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In my classroom we use the term "glazephobia" and it is fairly common. Bisque ware piles up on some potters' shelves because they are avoiding the disappointment of glazing it. We have the good fortune, and the handicap, of having several dozen nice glazes. This can impede someone learning how to glaze, because they are using too many glazes. When someone has a serious glazephobia probelm, I tell them to choose their two favorite glazes, and stop using anything else. I get so much resistance to this idea! I think there is a component of glazephobia that says "I don't know what I want." The students who are the best glazers, the ones who take to it naturally and don't struggle with glazephobia, are the ones who have a clear vision of what they are trying to achieve. All of their testing has a goal. They are not trying random glazes and glaze combinations, hoping to stumble upon something they like. I have also seen students become good glazers over time. It coincides with their growing confidence as potters, and the ability to judge themselves.

 

In my studio at home, where I produce my professional line, I use only four glazes, and two of them are almost the same. My students sometimes ask "but don't you get bored?" and I say "no it's all I want."

 

yedrow, you seem to have very clear ideas of what you don't like, and some pretty clear, but somewhat less developed, ideas of what you do want. Making your glazes thinner sounds like the correct next step. Buy or make a hydrometer, so you can test that in a meaningful way. I agree that testing is the right answer. But don't test in a wandering fashion, decide what you want first.

 

Mea

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When the going gets tough, the tough turn to David Hendley. http://www.youtube.c...h?v=A6CQouI-OMA

 

 

My gosh I hate/love you tube. I went to the song by David Hendley and laughed so hard-all of the same questions I had to answer when doing shows. Once that was done I watched another vid in the side port, and that led to another and before you knew it I was into one on zentangles! Good thing I had to take the wife out for Mother's Day, or I would have wasted many hours looking at videos. At least you reminded me why I don't go there often.

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GMosko: your pots are lovely. Glazing was always great fun until lately. I am making pieces very different fron what I have done in the past. I need a light wash of colour over the base glaze ( like watercolours ) and have tried applying stains in water, stains in a very dependable clear mat, stains in a liner base. When using the glazes, they are thinned with water.

 

The issue I have is that the brushing pulls off the base glaze. Perhaps it is the type of brush-- the wash is over small sculptured flowers and slightly beyond them, like a quick impressionate swipe. Any tips from anyone?

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I loved watching the video, and like you , spent the next hour watching many more. Happy moms day to me!

Yedrow, I too am a huge fan of your pots. I, too, love your handles. I know your are a very experienced

potter and not some newby. I would come to a workshop of yours on how to make such beautiful handles.

Maybe you might think about joining me for a workshop on glazing somewhere out there in the USA. I look

all the time. John Britt has one every so often, but so far away, but Im saving my cash. I am teasing about

you joining me, but maybe a work shop is a great way to get your creative brain back on track.

I admire your work, and feel your pain. I'm a newby,: you are a potter in a small slump. I wish you well.

juli

 

 

 

 

 

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