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Member Since 08 Sep 2012
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 10:45 PM

Topics I've Started

Tinkering With Commercial Glazes

25 October 2014 - 09:58 PM

I've used commercial glazes, in my classroom, since I've started teaching.  The majority of them are bottle glazes, with a couple I buy dry and mix with water.

Most of them work great, brush on very well, and keep a good consistency over time.  However, there are a few that cause me some problems.


One of the more popular glazes gets pretty thick, and cracks as it dries.  I used to just add water to thicker glazes, but as I learn more about glazes, I've discovered that it can make the problem worse.  


Another issue, is with the glazes I mix.  I follow mixing instructions, and the consistency seems great.  Then I go to use them, and they don't brush well at all.  They dry almost instantly, when applied, and like to settle in the container.  


I've added Espom salt to address the settling, which helped somewhat.  But I'm thinking of purchasing a couple other things, to see if I can improve things.


For the settling, bentonite seems to be advisable no?  I would think a commercial glaze, would have enough in it, but who knows.  I don't screen the glaze mixes, but thought about doing so.  What size mesh would be best?  I was also thinking of adding some type  of gum, to improve the brushability.  


In regards to the glazes thickening, I was going to try Darvan 7.


So my shopping list will be something like this:



Darvan 7

80-100 mesh screen

Vee Gum, CMC Gum or a Gum solution

Large bag Peanut butter M&Ms


How's my list look?

Amaco "texturizer".

18 October 2014 - 05:44 PM

I've had a bottle of this, at my first school, and found some, in my current classroom. What exactly is it, and how is it supposed to add texture? Does it make the surface rougher, does it cause crazing, etc?

According to the instructions, you are supposed to apply it over top the glaze, but when I used it in my first classroom, I saw no difference in the glaze, so I never used it again.

If it does increase crazing, I'm interested in using it for Raku, to cause more "crackle" for the smoke to fill.

Underglazes Flaking Off

16 October 2014 - 11:08 AM

I've been having issues lately with the underglazes chipping off, student's finished projects.
The underglazes are both Amaco (Velvet Series and LUG Series), and I've used both extensively for years, with almost no issues.
The underglazes seem to take application well, and come out fine after the bisque. It isn't until the glaze firing, that they flake off. In one case, the underglaze was left bare, on the flange of a slab box. In the other case, it had a glaze over top part of it. It seems to be separating from the clay body, almost like old paint from a surface.
I fire low fire so Cone 05. The clay is the same low fire white, that I've used for years. The only other similar issue I've had, was with a brown underglaze last year, that did something similar. But now, it's two different colors, from two different product lines.

I have my students rinse their project after firing, to remove any residue they might have accumulated. But I am thinking it could be oils from the hands. Thus far, it has happened only to one student, on two different projects.

Any ideas?

Homemade Extruder

06 June 2014 - 10:06 PM

I've wanted to get an extruder for my classroom, for quite a while.  Unfortunately, I can never really fit it in the budget, especially as my district is really focusing on cutting back.  So even though, I may be able to put in the purchase order, and even have it approved, I really don't want to draw attention to myself, as a department that spends money on "Big" purchases.  

I have two hand extruders, but they work OK at best.  


A while back, Pres linked me to this video:




I think it's an absolute great idea, and am seriously considering building one.  The issue I will have, is mounting.  Obviously, I can't dig a hole in my classroom, to place a wooden post.  Wall mounting is essentially out of the question as I don't much wall space, and that I have, would not be preferable.  

I'm either thinking table mount, or to anchor a post in a bucket of concrete, then attach it to the post, like he did in the video.  If I go for the table mount option, what would be a good bracket set up?



Glaze Practice Tile(S)

06 June 2014 - 08:30 PM

Lately, I've been kicking around a new idea, for teaching the students, how to use glaze.  Since I started teaching, I have also done some quick demos, regarding underglaze and glaze techniques.  However, it seems to be too condensed for the students, and it's hard for them to take in a lot of it.  


So, instead of me showing them all the techniques, or requiring them to do all of them on projects, I thought of having each student make a slab, dividing it up into sections, and try a couple different techniques there.  One section could be undergalze with sgraffito, on with the use of wax or latex resist, sponging, layering, etc.  I do something similar, with my Painting class, when we practice with watercolor.

The slabs wouldn't have to be very big, maybe five by six or so.  


Has anyone tried something like this with students, or otherwise?