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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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5 Tips for Making the Most of Ceramic Glaze Testing

Posted On January 28, 2013 2 Comments

The best way to learn about ceramic glazes and glaze materials is to test them. By studying what happens when varying amounts of various ingredients are combined in a glaze and then fired to various temperatures, you start to understand how materials affect each other, and therefore how to troubleshoot when your results are not what you wanted. But it can be intimidating to delve into glaze chemistry. It is extremely complex, and includes the word ‘chemistry’ in its name, which to some (me included) is an immediate red flag. So in today’s post, Greg Daly gives five excellent tips for getting the most out of glaze testing. Read on, and then get out there and test!

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

Posted On January 14, 2013 4 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.

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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 16 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!

Selenium/Cadmium Red

Techno File: Four Ways to Reliable Red Ceramic Glazes

Posted On June 13, 2011 10 Comments

In today’s post, an excerpt from our latest free download, the 2011 Clay Workshop Handbook: Knowledge and Techniques for the Pottery Studio, Dave Finkelnberg explains four ways to get great red glazes and shares four fabulous red glaze recipes, from low-fire to high fire reduction. Have a look and then download your free copy of the 2011 Clay Workshop Handbook! Even if you are not going to a workshop this summer, there’s something in the handbook for you!

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Mixing and Testing Pottery Glazes: A Great Way to Expand Your Understanding of Glaze Chemistry

Posted On June 8, 2011 10 Comments

Learning how different materials contribute to glazes is very important in expanding your abilities as a ceramic artist. And the best way to learn about glaze chemistry is to test, test, test. By testing lots of recipes and varying the ingredients, you can become familiar how ceramic raw materials behave and interact. In today’s post, Richard Zakin explains his straightforward system for making and testing glazes. With this primer, you’ll be able to start testing away!

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Mini Pottery Workshop Video: Three Nuggets of Wisdom from an Expert Potter

Posted On April 15, 2011 29 Comments

A couple of years ago, master potter Tom Turner hosted a two-day
workshop. Fortunately, for those who were not lucky enough to attend
the workshop, he had the whole thing filmed and turned it into a DVD.
The DVD is chock full of little nuggets of wisdom that come from
Turner’s many years of making pottery. I picked out three of those
little nuggets to share with you today.

Hirsh Satin Matt Base Glaze, Bowls by Joseph Pintz.

What Makes a Matte Glaze Matte? A Helpful Explanation of the Chemistry Behind Matte Glazes

Posted On October 18, 2010 18 Comments

I looooooooooooove a matte glaze, but I have to admit, other than some very basic information, I didn’t really have a good understanding of what makes a glaze matte…that is, until I read a recent Technofile article in Ceramics Monthly. What’s Technofile, you ask? It is a terrific new department in CM in which a technical issue in ceramics is explained in depth by an expert. Today, as a sampling of the great stuff in Technofile, I am presenting an excerpt on matte glazes (on account of my deep affection for these surfaces!).

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The New World of Crystalline Glazes: Developing Beautiful Crystals in Reduction

Posted On October 6, 2010 21 Comments

In today’s post, crystalline potter Diane Creber explains the basics of growing crystals and how crystalline glaze potters have been recently experimenting using reduction to enhance the pre-formed crystals in their glazes. Plus she shares a couple of great crystalline glaze recipes and a crystalline firing program for a digital controller.