Big Ceramic Store Blog

Learn How to Make Glazing Fun

If you are anything like me,  you have a scoring system for the level of enjoyment you get from each step of your work. For instance, throwing = 7, hand-building = 8, sculpting = 10, and so on.

On a scale of 1-10, what score would you give glazing? For me, I'd probably go with a (-2), that's if my scoring system went that low! Glazing is definitely my least favorite aspect of the job.

I look forward to sitting at the wheel, rolling out a new slab, or sculpting a great piece. I don't even mind the bisque firing process, although, I do find it a bit time consuming, and a little boring. So, I had to ask myself, "what can I do to make glazing fun?"

Here are a few tricks I've tried:

  • Pick a few pieces that you are not attached to, and try something new. Try a base coat of a shino, then add one of your favorite glosses (side note, I usually put them on their own shelf in the kiln, just to make sure they don't totally mess with my primary pieces). Sometimes this totally amazes me. As a matter of fact, one of the few pieces I won't let go of, started out as a "shino experiment."
    • My favorite experiment
  • Instead of trying to do all the glazing in one day, mix it up a bit. I do an hour or so of glazing, then do something I like better. It helps to keep my mind a little more focused on what I'm going to do, rather than what I'm doing right now.
  • Try doing just one color a day. Even if you plan to layer, I find it easier to mix up one color, then sit my pieces on a shelf in groups. Group 1 is going in the kiln "as is," group 2 needs a layer of_____ glaze, etc.
  • We all do the piece, here and there, that we plan on glazing multiple colors. I've found that applying wax resist or liquid latex, prior to my glaze time, takes a lot of stress out of the process.
  • Enlist a helper, let them do your base coat, it saves time. My 10-year-old granddaughter loves to work with clay. She uses underglaze to "pretty" things up a bit on greenware, then all I have to do is apply a clear coat. Psst... I'll let you in on a secret, I don't let her decorate the best pots on the shelf, but there are always a few I'm not super crazy about.

Over all, I'm still not sure I would consider glazing fun, but these tricks have definitely made it a lot less stressful.

Do you have a tip or trick to help make glazing fun? Leave a comment!

Do you have an idea or project you'd like to share with us? Shoot us an e-mail at bcscommunity@bigceramicstore.com

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