Big Ceramic Store Blog

How To Fuse Bisque Ware Together With Glaze

How many times have you opened the kiln, after a bisque fire, and found broken wares? I don't know about you, but for me, it has happened a few times. One particular piece comes to mind.

I had made a large platter for my daughter, in North Carolina, and we were planning a visit in less than two weeks. Hoping to take it along, I rushed the firing process. Needless to say, the bottom ruptured, and I thought it was a total loss.

The piece itself, was beautiful, and I had put a lot of time into hand painting blue crabs with cobalt oxide.While looking at the four large pieces and a bunch of little shards, I wondered if there was any possible way to save it. I knew that with my daughter being an artist as well, she would appreciate something a little "out of the box".

Taking the larger pieces, I started to arrange them in different overlapping patterns. Knowing that a mending agent was out of the question, I figured the only thing to try, was to fusing the pieces together with glaze.

After deciding on a layout, I dipped the pieces in a clear glaze, and proceeded to arrange them on a series of stilts on the kiln shelf. I placed the shelf in the kiln and loaded the rest of my glazed pieces. Closing the lid, I crossed my fingers, and prayed I hadn't made a mistake.

Excitement, anxiety and optimism were a few of the emotions swirling around in my head when I opened the lid. I practically jumped up and down, when I got to the bottom shelf and pulled out the platter! It was amazing, and I was glad I took the chance.

crab platter

Attached to a piece of old barn wood, with a little fish netting for aesthetics, it looks great hanging on her beach themed wall!

Here are some additional ideas for using broken bisque pieces:

  • When making bird houses and other pieces with a "roof" that lifts off after the bisque fire, try putting glaze on both pieces and fire them the way you want them to come out.
  • Try fusing handles on pitchers. For example, I had a handle 3/4 crack at the top, so I pulled it off, sanded the rough spots and made a new handle. I split the top,  allowed for shrinkage, and shaped it to the body of the pitcher. After it was bisque fired, I added glaze to both pieces and hung the handle over the rim.
    Place something flexible
    in the opening to hold the shape while it dries
  • Glaze broken ware and use it in the garden as a backdrop for flowers or decoration.

Maybe you've done something unique with one of your broken pieces? Please share your creative use in the comments.

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