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mongraffito

Please Help With Glazing For A Newbie

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Hello

Im a painter with a love for ceramic (and porcelain).

I made several medium (20-40 cm tall) statues in clay (heads or human body)

I fired them at a shop here in the Hague, Netherlands, where I live.

 

There's something I just dont get (from books or videos I watched), regarding the glazing phase.

Here's what Id like to know from someone who actually did this:

1) I can glaze the fired statue with a brush dipped in a glaze sollution, right? (Ive only seen videos of people diving the pottery in a glaze bath.)

2) once that glaze layer is dry, can I wrap the statue in paper/etc to transport it to the kiln? This kils is some 4 km away from where I live and I can only go there by bike...

3) I saw several videos or read some books that mention different temperatures of firing the glazed terracotta. Im not sure this shop will do different temps for me. They're a general art supply shop (for sculptors) which also have a kiln.

 

Any advice is greatly appreciated.(please keep it simple, Im not an expert) 

I am still in the phase where I struggle with armatures for my statues, discovering which size is appropriate for what kind of detail. I have Phillipe Faraut books and 2 dvds but couldnt find this info there.

Thanks a lot!

Mon

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The reason you see a lot of dipping is because of speed and even application. If you take a regular glaze and try and brush it I don't think it applies very even as the pot sucks up all the moisture.

 

I have an article saved about making glazes brushable https://docs.google.com/document/d/1T88SR0xwwNxhXrVu-nFH50vFaOlm9fFxS0pt9QG7354/edit?usp=sharing

 

I would say wrapping it up is possible but the glaze may rub off in transit. It could be a better idea to transport then take an hour or so to glaze where the kiln is if possible. Normally a piece is fired once and then glazed and fired again, called a bisque firing. Are you doing this?

 

The clay should come with a temperature that it should be fired too and you want it to be fired at that temperature. 

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Yes, you can brush on your glaze.   Tell us more about the glaze you want to use...is it a glaze formulated for dipping?

 

I strongly advise that before you invest a lot of time on any new technique, do some small test pieces to see how the glaze comes out and make sure it fires ok.

 

One trick for handling pieces that have glaze applied is to coat the piece with hair spray.  The hair spray burns off in the kiln and keeps the powdery dry glaze coating from coming off the piece during handling and transport.  I think you could also use something like spray starch.

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joel's suggestion of waiting to glaze until the sculpture is near the kiln is a very good idea.  

 

you mention terracotta and you mentioned armatures and you mentioned that you have already fired the sculpture.  so, it appears you have a low temperature clay, the armature has been removed or was fired out during that first firing, called bisque, and you are now ready for a final firing after applying glaze.  correct?   terracotta clay is usually fired at the same temperature for both bisque and final glaze firing.  not a variety of temperatures.

 

can you ask the person at the art studio what temperature the firings reach?  if your clay came in a package, does it mention the firing temperature at which the clay matures?  be sure the numbers match so you do not try to fire your low temperature clay at a temperature so high that it melts the clay into a puddle.

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thank you all for the answers!

I dont know what glaze I will use yet. My statues are either full body statues (nudes) or heads. Im not going to start with one color for the lips and another for the hair or eyes, if you know what I mean. I just want to cover the bisque version with a +/- uniform color and a medium glaze (not too shiny), just to see a different look. A bit of a pale color cheers them up, the bisque statues that I got fired till now look a bit too chalky. I love the look of pottery, I just dont make pots (for a number of reasons). Besides, I love modeling clay and creating body volumes. Any comment on this?

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I used Creaton 246, fire range 1000-1280 degrees. I bought it in the same shop that fired the statues.

 

I was talking about armatures because I made them to hold on a vertical body while working on it. When it was leather dry I cut the statue, removed the wire and reassembled the statue back. 

 

I used the term terracotta because that's what it means in Italian, fired earth/clay. I suppose that's also called bisque, the first time something comes out of the kiln.  :)

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I've spent the last 3-4 years transporting all my work for firing. If you can glaze the piece where the kiln is, that is the best course of action. If that's not possible, the hairspray does help (or spray laundry starch), but how you wrap your piece is more important. Make sure your wrapping material is soft (an old towel or blanket) and the piece is packed into the container you carry it in so that it doesn't rattle or shake. Any vibration will chip glaze off a piece easily. To be safe, bring a small amount of glaze with you for touchups once you arrive.

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For "non-functional" pieces, glazing is optional if you would prefer a dry finish to the pieces. On larger or more complex sculptures I frequently avoid glazing, or will glaze and then scrape away most of the glaze (this leave some shine but none of irregularities). Oxide washes are a good way to bring out textures; again glazing for gloss is optional.

 

For a piece that is 20-40 cm tall, I would pour the glaze over the piece instead of trying to dip.

 

If you really wish to glaze at home, hire a taxi, and hand carry the work.

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If you are going for a different look with just a bit shiny, you could try for a soda wash, can't remember the recipe but if you do a search on this forum you will find it. It gives a satin sheen to the clay... COuld be put on at he studio, don't need much and not messy

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After you apply your glaze, let it dry.  Then, spray the item with cheap hair spray -- that will help harden the surface of the glaze and make it safer for transport.

 

I use an old wine box -- with the cardboard separators -- for transporting vases to kilns.  I put each vase in a newspaper plastic bag (or you can use plastic wrap) and then insert the vase in one of the box sections.  You could use a couple pieces of foam to hold the item in place and prevent it from moving while in transport. 

 

Take a bit of the glaze with you to the studio to do any touch ups. 

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To make a perfect glaze needs more than a few times of testing.

If you got the right flood ( mostly feels  like liquid cream or thin joghurt) then it gets well. Red is difficult. I always let it dry for one day, then I glaze it for the 2nd time before I make the glazeburning. Red loves it hot and thick. I never do it in the middle of my kiln - always on the sides.

 

My experience with glazes are different. Some glazes hate it to be older than a few days. I always make them freshly. 

I mostly use glazes for lowfire = until 1080°C. because these glazes have the nicest colors ( I thinks so). And they don´t run so much.

I sometimes use brushes. Not so much, because youmust be very careful withbrushing. I you take not enough glaze ore the pressure on the brush is too much, then you only get cristalclear glaze without enough color. It gets too thin an the particles go away. That is why I mostly dunk it into the glaze or I sprinkle it with a soup ladle.

 

If you use terracotta-clay, maybe the natural glaze is the best. If you use white clay then it could be very nice if you use mangan. You can work with a bit water on a sponge and make fantastic  patterns. Try it! I use a glaze called tigereye. It is brown with black spots in it. Very nice for terracotta!

 

You must tell the person who burns for you, for wich Temparature your glazes is made. Important.  Good luck!

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