A Glazing Rollercoaster

This week, I’ve stepped up the pace of production of by bird pot series: Birds on the Edge, with the goal of building up inventory for Spring shows. My final stumbling block has been the glaze.  I thought I had the water color the way I wanted it, as in this piece here:

bird on the edge ceramic pot

Ceramic Birds on the Edge

A bight turquoise blue with clear crackles. This piece was done a couple of summers ago when my son and I got back into ceramics.

Unfortunately, using the ‘same’ recipe, I kept getting this black reduction in the glaze – blech!

After many, many experimental pots, I think I have found the key to my puzzle! Before revealing the secret, I thought I’d show my tip for avoiding this dilemma in the future.

Potters have always been known for meticulous documentation of glaze recipes and firing schedules, but glass workers, not so much 😉 As least, not this glass worker. So, I’ve stepped this up and added a firing log to my routine and this handy step. I now place each pot on a scrap of paper, with the glaze recipe noted and shoot a pic. Upload to the computer,  then repeat after firing. This gives my a visual reference for each glazed piece. I think this will be very beneficial when trying to recreate effects in the future, and I’ve found the taking and saving of a photo far more effective than any written description I can make in a firing log. Hooray for technology!

Glazed pots before firingBefore picsGlazed pots after firingAfter pics

And, now the solution to the problem, you ask? The crackle glaze! I had bough new white glaze, and thought of testing with both the new and the old to new avail. But, it took me many more firings to realize I had also bought new crackle. Both crackles are lead free, so I’m still not sure what ingredient in the new stuff has cause the reaction (copper, sulfur?), but am quite happy to have the puzzle solved. Hopefully the pots from now on will  look more like the color of this pretty experimental piece:

Ceramic blue crackle

Glaze success!

In other news, the BIG, BIG, excitement in my world is the beginning of my studio remodel! Nothing fancy, but it will be a far better space than the mouse and spider infested basement with insulation walls and exposed furnace and water heater. Saturday was spent emptying the space, which was a huge job unto itself:

Off we go!


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