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Glaze direction for a newbie

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Inherited a kiln, bought a wheel and some clay and amaco glazes in November, and I am hooked, but woefully inexperienced.  I also bought a bunch of silica, fluxes, frits, additives and colorants.  I know of glazy.org, but it leaves me glazy-eyed, not knowing much.  I fire in the mid-range level, using a white amaco clay body.  I intend to make product to sell, if only to afford my clay habit.

I want to make glazes I will use, and have even made test tiles, but where to begin?  Is there a MUST have glaze?  If I were to make a 5 gallon (and I won't anytime soon) what should it be?  Can I trust glazy? I wish there were a review on each glaze!  Do I look for a style of glaze I like and then add colorants? How can I be assured my kiln won't be trashed from some messed up recipe?

Overall, I am enjoying this journey, but want to learn more, and have it be applicable to my shop, not just head knowledge.  Any advice?

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have you already made something you think is done well enough to glaze?  glazing is the final step in making something and you will need to see what you have before you look for a glaze to complement it.  you might start now to make glaze test tiles so when you start making glaze you will have a way to test the results before committing to a finished look that might not work with your clay.

as a beginner, you have the entire field open to you.  is there a specific shape you want to throw?   do you prefer making things with your hands instead of throwing?  are you into sculpture?  

once you sort of settle on trying something, make multiples of it so you learn the skill it takes to make things consistently.   glazing will come after you decide which of the many things you will make are good enough to finish.   meanwhile, you will be using the clay over and over, learning a skill.

you will need to do the same with glazes.   most people seem to start making only 100 grams of a new recipe because the recipe works for the author of it but you do not know what kind of clay or firing is used by that person.  it may not work at all for you.   remember that just because the author of a glaze calls it GREEN GOBBLEDEGOOK  you might find it makes a great blue with a different colorant.

go slowly, enjoy each step and keep reading all the good books you can find in your local library.  if you find one you want to own, buy it.  liam has suggested 2 good ones.  

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1 hour ago, Rippity said:

Thank you both so much for your thoughtful replies. I think I'm on the right road though I'm not so good at having patience, it seems to require! I have checked out all I can from our library; I really like John Britt, so having him in my personal library is a no-brainer.

Be sure to read the first half of the book and don't just skip to the recipes (this is true for both books).  The first half is where all of the important questions you've asked are answered in detail.  The obvious temptation is to get bored with the details and jump straight to the recipes, I highly advise against this.

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Hi Rip!

A few more resources:

Tony Hansen's site, a trove of articles, recipes, definitions...


Another book, Peterson's The Craft and Art of Clay

This site!

As for must have glaze, perhaps a clear that fits your clay really well, no bubbles, smooth, durable; if you are using several clays, you may have to develop more than one clear, or drop clay(s)!

Have fun, be safe.

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Do not trust Glazy, or any other source from the web. Just because someone else thinks it's a good glaze doesn't mean it is, unless the source is someone you know can be trusted. But even then, every glaze you use needs to be tested for durability and safety because your clay, raw materials, and firing conditions will be different. That's where educating yourself on glaze formulation is important. I use a couple glazes from the Mc6G book, but had to tweak them for use in my studio. I don't think I've ever used a recipe as I found it.

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