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Glaze Chemistry

Remember, in high school chemistry class when you found yourself thinking, “when will I ever use this stuff in my life?” (unless, of course, you always dreamed of becoming a chemist). Well, once you have become hooked on pottery and ceramics, you will probably find yourself delving into glaze chemistry. Learning how different materials contribute to glazes and clay bodies is very important in expanding your abilities as a ceramic artist. So here we’ve gathered a bunch of articles and information on glaze chemistry to help you understand this incredibly complex and fascinating subject. 33 Tried and True Glaze Recipes, a perfect resource for potters and ceramic artists who are ready to experiment with custom glazes, or for those who have grown tired of their own tried and true glazes.


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Video of the Week: John Britt Explains the Triaxial Blend

Posted On April 11, 2014 4 Comments

A triaxial blend is an excellent tool for learning about glazes and materials but if you’re new to glaze testing, just the words “triaxial blend” might give you pause.
Never fear! John Britt is here to demystify the triaxial blend in today’s video post. In this clip John clearly explains how a triaxial blend is set up and shows a fired example of a triaxial blend with stains, which nails the point home. – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.

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How to Find Substitutes for Unavailable Raw Materials in Glazes

Posted On November 6, 2013 0 Comments

Glaze mixing can be daunting to the novice, especially when the recipe contains an ingredient that is unfamiliar or unavailable. But with a few simple melt tests, you can learn a lot about what materials do at your firing range and start making educated guesses as to what might make a good substitute for the unfamiliar ingredient. In today’s post, an excerpt from our new Ceramic Handbook Cone 5-6 Glazes: Materials and Recipes, Deanna Ranlett walks us through the testing she did to find substitutes for some frits. By following her lead, you can figure out substitutes for the materials you might be missing in a glaze! – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.

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Lichens and Lizards and Leopards, Oh My! Reticulated Glaze Recipes For Wild Ceramic Surfaces

Posted On September 30, 2013 8 Comments

Glazes are sometimes formulated to intentionally crawl and create reticulated surfaces resembling lichens, leopard coats, or lizard skin. Today, Robin Hopper presents a slip recipe and a base glaze recipes for such an effect, and gives examples of this slip and glaze combination with various ceramic colorants added.

Bottles, by Linda Burley.

Cool Colors: Ceramic Glaze Recipes for Greens, Blues and Turquoises

Posted On July 31, 2013 12 Comments

If you’ve seen anything I have made in the last several years, you know that I’m a little bit obsessed with pale-turquoise and pale-green glazes. I can’t get enough of them. So today, I thought I would share some samples of the glazes I obsess over. Linda Bloomfield explains the chemistry behind glazes ranging from the palest yellow-greens to some terrific teals. Plus she shares loads of recipes (for all firing ranges). There are many ways to get greens and blues in ceramics, but if you’re looking for a specific hue, this will help you find the right combination. – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.

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Simple Glaze Modifications That Can Reveal a Lot

Posted On July 19, 2013 5 Comments

Tom Turner has a new glaze video out and today I’m happy to announce that it’s available in the CAD bookstore! In this clip, Tom explains simple modifications you can make to a glaze recipe that can often lead to numerous new glaze discoveries! For example, by removing the iron from his example recipe, he comes up with a beautiful magnesium matt base glaze that could then be tested with other colorants. Have a look! – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.

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How to Correct Five Common Ceramic Glaze Defects

Posted On July 1, 2013 14 Comments

It is especially true in the ceramics world that one person’s fault is another person’s fancy – especially when it comes to glaze “defects.” Many ceramic artists deliberately create faults in their glaze surfaces to achieve a particular aesthetic. But, of course, there are some cases in which a glaze must be perfect for reasons of safety or hygiene. So just in case glaze defects are driving you “craze-y” (sorry, I just couldn’t “resist”), today Robin Hopper gives some expert pointers on how to solve five of the most common pottery glaze problems (such as crawling, shown at left). – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.

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A Super Simple Analogy to Help You Understand Glaze Structure

Posted On June 28, 2013 11 Comments

Ceramic glazes consist of three main components: glass formers, fluxes, and refractories. If you can remember those, and familiarize yourself with the characteristics of the common ceramic raw materials, you are in good shape to start developing your own successfulglazes. For today’s video, I thought I would share John Britt’s simple glaze component analogy. It is a great way to remember how the three glaze components function in a glaze. – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.

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Testing Ceramic Glazes and Colorants to Expand Your Palette in Mid-Range Firing

Posted On May 27, 2013 10 Comments

Recently, Yoko Sekino Bove conducted extensive tests to determine how several base glazes do
with a wide variety of coloring oxides and carbonates. Today we are
sharing the results!

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Glazed and Confused? How to Mix a Color Blend and Interpret the Results

Posted On May 3, 2013 3 Comments

Last summer we traveled to the lovely Bakersville, North Carolina, studio of John Britt to tap into his vast knowledge of glaze chemistry for a glazing DVD. I am super stoked to announce its release today! And, I may be a bit biased, but I think it will be a fabulous resource for anyone who wants to delve deeper into glazing, but finds the subject too intimidating.

 

In today’s video, I am sharing a clip (and a recipe) from it. In this (much condensed) clip, John shares his simple system for mixing up a color blend and tells us what to make of the results. Have a look and then mix up your own color blend and see what you get. – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.

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Line Blends: A Surefire Way to Build Your Understanding of Ceramic Glaze Materials

Posted On February 20, 2013 4 Comments

Let’s face it. We’ve all had glaze disasters in the kiln. From the mild disappointment of a glaze not turning out exactly the color you were hoping for to a glaze completely running off a piece and ruining a kiln shelf. That’s why it is so important to test our glazes. Line blends are a pretty simple and straightforward way of testing glazes that can yield a wealth of information. In today’s post, an excerpt from Developing Glazes, Greg Daly explains how to do a couple of line blends and shares some recipes you can try. – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.