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Glazing The Bottom Of My Pottery


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I see all these cups that have the bottoms glazed and only a small ring unglazed. In hight school my teacher had us wax dip our pottery so that they didn't stick to the kiln shelf. Now that my techniques have gotten much better and I have my own kiln I want my glazing to look more professional. Is there a way I can achieve this without sticking to my kiln shelf?

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I don't know how much education you have had in ceramics but there is much more to learn about throwing than they teach you in basic classes.  Take some college courses or find a studio with a good teacher.  Check out their work, ignor the fancy glaze look for balance, rim, foot and a handle that looks and feels good.  If you can't afford to do any of this buy some good books on throwing.   Denice

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If you want to glaze the bottom of your pots you need to design them for it.  The foot ring needs to be of enough depth that the glaze won't drip or touch the shelf in the kiln.  For it to look good takes a lot of practice.  The few people that I have seen that glaze the bottoms of pots do it with one of those large Japanese brushes. Brushing on two or three layers, again, practice.  I like to put a nice deep foot ring on serving bowls and the occasional tea cup.  It take a bit of practice to get it.  Sadly when pots are pictured in books they rarely show the bottoms.  I will try and post a pic.

 

 

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After having trimmed a raised foot, I take a needle tool and cut a shallow channel on the inside and outside of the root ring.

The channels are high up on the foot almost where the body of the pot and the foot ring connect.   This channel allows

running glaze to collect and also helps make the glaze/unglazed border look more clean and precise.

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oh, chantay, the rough clay that use gives me the willies.  i used that heavily grogged stuff and found that my hands bled after every session.  touching the bat while centering meant leaving a trail of blood all over the place.

 

 

You would have loved the clay I used in college then.  It had ground up bisqued clay grog in it.  Having your hand against the wheel head, was like pressing it against a spinning sanding disk.

 

I don't mind glaze bottoms.  It can look good or bad, depending on how it's done.  I use low fire in my classroom, so i'll allow some students to glaze the bottoms of their wares.  It just depends on what glaze(s), and which student(s).

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Foot of tea cup

Chantay, where the foot touches the table you have an abrupt edge which will be more liable to chip through use., If you round this edge the chipping will be nullified, the pot still stable.. I was taught this by an old potter who happened by a Gallery where I had my work in early days.It works a charm.

Nice foot.

What do others think? Or do at this point of hte foot.

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absolutely soften that edge.  do you use a white stone to remove the grit that is on the very bottom?  i am surprised that so many potters have never heard of it. it removes the sharpness that can be felt by the finger after a piece is finished.  i now take one to every sale because customers can be turned off all the work of a particular potter if they find one piece of sandy grit on one piece. 

 

scratching someone's table will not make them good future customers.

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I personally sand the bottom of all my foots by hand. It takes about 2-3 minutes per pot, but I find it makes them as smooth as a baby bottom. Of course I don't pot for a living either, so maybe thats not feasible. Surely there is a fast method to smooth those bottoms.

 

I also smooth them before I fire them with a smooth riverstone stone. After I finish trimming the foot I put a stone to the edges and the bottom to smooth it as much as possible. I then fire it and give it a quick sanding. I can slid my pots across the table with no scratches. 

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grype,

 

This is an older picture.  I have further evolved the foot of my bowls and come cups.  I round them so that only a small portion touches the table surface.  I also started smoothing them after trimming. 

 

Oldlady,

 

I think its all relevant.  The first clay I ever used had so much grog in it, it was like throwing with cement. now this red stone feels smooth.  If I use a grogless clay like little loafers I have trouble not going to thin.  I have learned to leave the surface either a little rough or very smooth.  I love the red stone clay for the way it looks when left unglazed.  I gets this toasty red-brown color.  I am experimenting with leaving areas unglazed on mugs and plates.

 

 

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Great Chantay, I meant only that some details are obvious to some and not others, I was really glad when my eye was drawn to this aspect of my pots. In this forum, seems we are open to any hints so I passed it on! Hope no offense was taken :)

On the unglazed areas of some of my pots I recently tried the soda wash that Chris Campbell kindly described to us. it is worth a try , doesn't alter the colour but takes it from clay to a satinny feel which I kinda like.

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Oh Babs! No offense taken.  I just think it is important for new potters to hear frequently about personal evolution and development.  Few people experience it in today's world.   I see many new potters upset and disappointed in their work because they don't achieve the look they strive for.  Most have never had to repeat work to achieve success. I always keep a couple of my pots.  Then I can look back and see how I have evolved.  After only three years I feel I have made monumental advancement.  I just pulled pots from the kiln this morning.  Yes, they are pretty good for someone who has only been a hobby potter for three years.  But, I can see where I need to go to get to the next level.

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  • 3 weeks later...

To me, the bottom does not look finished or professional unglazed, with some exceptions.  I have seen bottoms where there is a textured treatment done which do look finished to me with glaze.  I agree with whats been said regarding the necessary attention to the foot that's needed.  Just leave enough clay when throwing that you can trim out the bottom if you decide to go this route.  When glazing, I paint 3 coats, then run a sponge around the bottom which takes off any glaze that went where I didn't intend, and also gives me a nice even line so it's finished properly.  I've never had a problem with pots sticking to the shelf.  I also carved the bottoms of my pieces to match the rest of the pot.  It adds a little bit of unexpected fun when you turn them over.  See below.il_570xN.593630167_2e7y.jpg

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@Noob12, As others have already pointed out, there are options...and personal preferences.  I fall into the raised foot crowd since I trim just about everything that is functional.  And, most of the time, the bottom of my functional ware is textured, fired, stained with red iron oxide, wiped, and lightly sanded to remove any barbs/roughness - all before glaze is applied to the rest of the piece.  I still dip things, but when I do, I take the time to brush-on water-based wax at any point/surface where the piece would rest.  It takes a little practice to get nice clean lines and I doubt that I would go through all of this in a true, production environment.  I have been known to dip footed ware and then use a small sponge to wipe the edge of the foot, leaving the bottom glazed...but that simply isn't a look that I prefer on my pots.

 

I started out years ago going the kiln furniture route where you end up with little dots of sharp/pointy glaze to grind-off.  I moved on.

 

-Paul

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I got a lapidary belt from Kingsley North thats a 300 grit abrasive wheel that goes on a 6" expanding disk on an electric motor. A few seconds per pot makes the feet of all my pots velvety smooth. In addition, I burnish the foot with a silicon bone folder (for stationary) and sometimes never have to touch it with the lapidary belt. I use Bmix ^5 so the grog is not an obvious problem.

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I fall into the raised foot crowd since I trim just about everything that is functional.

As a hobbyist, I don't have to worry about the time efficiency issues, and I like to trim just about everything... I enjoy the act of trimming almost as much as I do throwing. When I pick up pots at shows, I almost always turn them over to look at the foot, and I'm usually disappointed by the flat bottoms. A nicely trimmed foot-ring is rarity on functional ware at shows I see, and I'd just *love* to be surprised by decoration inside the foot someday.

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I also carved the bottoms of my pieces to match the rest of the pot.  It adds a little bit of unexpected fun when you turn them over.  See below.

 

Firenflux - I really like the surprise element that you have on the bottom of your cup! I may try that :) I usually sign my pieces in the area you've decorated on the bottom...do you have a stamp on another part of the cup instead?

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