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alligator alley

glaze mixing classes

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I am relatively new at this "mud thing" and I want to mix my own glazes , but, I have not the faintest idea how to start,I get intimidated at just the thought of it, I've NEVER had any chemistry in my life, commercial glazes seem to be too expensive, plus they are too commonplace, can anyone explain in easy to understand directions? HELPPPPPPP please, it will be appreciated, P.S. does anyone know of any classes in mixing glazes in the North Mississippi area

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Check with your local pottery studio (or neighborhood potter with studio in their home) and ask if they will let you watch/help the next time they mix glazes. It's really not that hard. Some studios offer "glaze kitchen" services; you pay to use their facilities, equipment (scales, sieves, etc.) and materials. You will need a good respirator, though.

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Commercial glazes aren't all that bad. They can be layered or even mixed to come up with different colors, just keep track of the percentages of the different glazes. I, too, don't have 'chemistry', space to store all the dry ingredients, and maybe the discipline necessary. All the different ways of applying glazes can change how any one of the commercials look when fired.

 

I have purchased glazes that I've intensly disliked and yet after mixing them with others ended up with some real winners. One example was called Cola Green. I didn't like it on my clay body, so mixed some with an end-of-a-bucket matte white and came up with a great beanpot brown.

 

Remember, if you start mixing your own glazes, the first thing to buy is a good respirator. Stay healthy, and good luck!

 

 

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Commercial glazes aren't all that bad. They can be layered or even mixed to come up with different colors, just keep track of the percentages of the different glazes. I, too, don't have 'chemistry', space to store all the dry ingredients, and maybe the discipline necessary. All the different ways of applying glazes can change how any one of the commercials look when fired.

 

I have purchased glazes that I've intensly disliked and yet after mixing them with others ended up with some real winners. One example was called Cola Green. I didn't like it on my clay body, so mixed some with an end-of-a-bucket matte white and came up with a great beanpot brown.

 

Remember, if you start mixing your own glazes, the first thing to buy is a good respirator. Stay healthy, and good luck!

 

 

 

 

Ohhhhhhh, thank you so much for the info, I'll try mixing to see what I come up with

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I agree with Idaho, "Commercial glazes aren't all that bad." But I will go one step further commercial glazes and underglazes aren't bad at all.

 

Commercial glazes can be very beautiful, easy to apply and many are formulated to be safe for food and drink and for use by children.

 

 

 

 

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I don't think its an issue of whether or not commercial glazes are good/bad; rather its cost. I can make a 5 - gallon bucket of clear glaze for $15 to $20, or I can buy two pints of clear for that amount. Even with time spent weighing, mixing, and sieving, the cost of making your own is substantially less than buying off the shelf. And, I do use a couple commercial glazes for colors that I just can't seem to get making myself . . . but at $100 for a 5 - gallon bucket worth, it is expensive.

 

If you can follow the recipes, you do not need to be a chemist to mix your own glazes. I was gently urged by my H.S. chemistry teacher to drop the course so he would not have to fail me.

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After my first glaze mixing session I was amazed at the volume of ingredients that it takes to make 5 gallons of glaze. I was also amazed at how many 50 lb bags of the ingredients are heaped in the storage closet at school and just how much room storing all of that stuff would take up in the average personal studio. I realize that mixing your own is gonna be a whole lot cheaper in the long run than buying commericially mixed amounts, but by the same token, knowing what you will need and in what ratio would be key in buying these bulk ingredients because some ingredients are widely used and others are more scant in the mix. Some recipes take a dozen or more ingedients and buying everyone of em up front, while cheaper in the long run...is gonna be a sizeable expense itself.

 

Anybody have any hard costs they can offer? I know it's a wide parameter to play in/a wide open kinda question....but I thought I'd ask anyway. When you stock up or when you made your first initial order...what did it cost you to have enough material on hand to be able to open the glaze books and be able to make any recipe before you? (I will ask this question to my instructor at school as well)

 

alligator.....I liked the way this company gave examples of how layering some of their glazes results in differing effects and i will probably be trying a few of these combos out myself until I see if mixing my own is advantageous/if i produce enough work to warrant having all of these materials on hand. http://www.standardceramic.com/GlazeCombos.html

 

Has anyone here tried any of these combos?

 

best of luck!

 

teardrop

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Just for kicks one day, I made a spreadsheet of the materials needed to mix 8000 gram batches of the 13 ^6 glazes offered by the studio I use and teach at. The spreadsheet calculated the total amounts of materials needed and the costed them out using costs from the supplier I know the owner buys from. That gave you how many pounds of materials were needed for the glazes. I found that it would cost approximately $353 for all of the materials needed to mix the 13 8,000 gram buckets. Base materials were about $133; colorants were about $220. You don't have to buy 50lb bags; although those are the lowest prices. Even allowing for buying at higher cost smaller quantity bags of materials, I doubt you would go over $400.

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Having just moved my studio after 26 years, I am very aware of how many materials and glaze buckets I have. It depends on the temperature you are firing at,[mine being stoneware]. You probably need more materials at lower temperatures to get the glazes melting.

I am thinking that at stoneware temps you would need;

E.P.K.

Ball Clay

Custer Feldspar

Nephyline Syenite

Flint

Zircopax

and maybe two more depending on the recipe.

You would then need oxides;Red Iron, cobalt, copper rutile.

I made the mistake of buying 50 pound bags of materials after art school in 1975. Just got done with the Custer. I am not going to buy another huge bag of anything. Materials take up space in your studio, and I was paying rent all those years to store my supplies. People will give you their old glazes and their open bags of various white powders[joke here], but it is not really a saving if you can't use them.

Flourspar anyone?

TJR

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I agree with TJR and Bciskepottery,

 

I would add a couple of items to TJR's list

"E.P.K..

Ball Clay,

Custer Feldspar (potash spar)

G200 (soda spar)

Nephyline Syenite

Flint

Zircopax,

copper carb,

iron,

cobalt carb

Rutile

i would add dolomite, a little zinc. a little cornwall stone and 3134 frit, whiting. I just bought a 5 pound

bag of Cornwall stone...the first in decades.Also bought some zinc and also the first in decades. It is a

good Idea to do a spreadsheet of the recipes you are using to see what are realistic quantities you'll

need. Wood ash is a good free flux. I am fortunate that I can store 2 pallets outside under some tarps. I did that in Montana as well as in South Texas.

 

Marcia

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Yes Mark,

you brought up excellent points about buying chemicals. When I left Montana, I left 3000 pounds of chemical in Montana. I donated them to my college where I worked several years previously in order not to burden my co-op member with getting rid of them at a high cost. I left them those items they would definitely use.

 

Marcia

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Dear Bonnie.

Many commercial glazes are fine if one is not concerned with costs and bottom line profits to run a business. I prefer to mix my own glazes because the cost of buying premixed glazes is expensive,

and seems to me to lack a personal thumb print on one's own work. I can alter glazes to reduce problems of

fitting the clay, I can chemically reduce crazing or excess fluidity because I have been educated in

glaze chemistry over decades of experience. I have accumulated a good stock pile of ingredients spanning 40 years+ including Drakenfeld stains from the early 70s..

Like Mark I have some rare ingredients including lepidolite.

 

It is a personal choice as well as an economic one whether to invest in these chemicals or not. But one must be cognizant of the ramifications

of leaving excessive quantities of chemicals behind for others to dispose of because it requires expensive testing or expensive hazardous chemical disposal without testing . It should be a responsibility of the owner/purchaser to organize a disposal plan, leave them to an active center or college because of the high costs of lawful disposal.

I think Mark and I are discussing the caution needed to avoid over buying and only buy what you need

for your chemical lab of your studio. Purchase you chemicals responsibly.

Marcia

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Some glaze calc programs will give you a cost per batch if you input the cost per pound of the individual ingredients. FYI

 

FWIW I love Glazemaster. best $ I ever spent.

Ben

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