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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.


How to Find Substitutes for Unavailable Raw Materials in Glazes

Posted On November 6, 2013 1 Comment

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.


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

Posted On September 30, 2013 9 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 13 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.


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.


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.


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

Posted On May 27, 2013 11 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!


Oil Spot and Hare’s Fur Glazes: Demystifying Classic Ceramic Glazes

Posted On January 14, 2013 5 Comments

Oil spot and hare’s fur glazes are beautiful and fascinating. In a nutshell, they are high-iron glazes that are applied in thick layers, which bubble up through one another and generate patterns ranging from metallic crystals to running streaks. These effects resemble, you guessed it, oil spots or the striated patterns in the fur of a rabbit. Of course, the explanation for how and why this happens is far more complex than that, but I’ll leave that to the experts. In today’s post, glaze expert John Britt explains the science behind these lovely glaze effects and shares a number of oil spot and hare’s fur glaze recipes.


Handbuilt porcelain bud vases by Jessica Knapp. Clockwise from the top: Orchard Purple, Base Glaze (no colorants), Tangerine Orange, French Chartreuse, Violet, Aegean Blue, Dark Red, Praseodymium Yellow.

Color Trends 2012: Glaze Recipes and Suggestions for Bringing the Hot Colors of 2012 Into Your Work

Posted On October 24, 2011 12 Comments

If you like to pay attention to trends in color to keep up on what buyers are looking at, today’s post is for you. In our latest free download, the 2012 Ceramic Arts Buyers Guide: A Ceramic Studio Supply Resource, we translate one of the most respected sources (Pantone’s Home + Interior color forecast) for such things into glaze combinations. In today’s post, we excerpt from the Buyers Guide to share some of those color trends and give some suggestions for developing these colors in glazes. This can also serve as a guide to which prepared ceramic glazes may be the right choice for you to jazz up your work.


Celadons at Cone 6: A Traditional High Fire Pottery Glaze is Well Within the Reach of Cone 6 Potters

Posted On July 25, 2011 21 Comments

True celadons are high fire glazes, but there are lots of ways to get the celadon look at cone 6. In today’s post, an excerpt from the September 2011 Ceramics Monthly, John Britt explains one way: converting an existing cone 10 recipe to cone 6. To see some other ways, check out the full article in the September CM.

Bowl: Fruits of Our Labor in a Time of Envy, 11 in. (28 cm) in diameter, terra cotta with majolica glazes, fired to cone 04, 2010.

The Colorful World of Majolica: A Beautiful Low-Fire Pottery Glazing Technique

Posted On June 29, 2011 17 Comments

Our summer of DVD filming continues and, in a couple of weeks, Linda Arbuckle will be coming to town to share her vast knowledge of the majolica (maiolica) technique on an instructional video. If you’re unfamiliar with majolica, it is a type of decoration typically done on terra cotta, with opaque white glaze and colored overglaze decoration. Linda is an expert on the majolica subject, and shared her knowledge in the  written form in the latest issue of Ceramics Monthly. Today, I am presenting an excerpt from that article and in the next couple of months, her instructional DVD will hit the shelves of the Ceramic Arts Daily Bookstore. Stay tuned!