Glaze Organization In The Classroom
Posted 09 February 2011 - 03:36 PM
Posted 12 February 2011 - 05:37 PM
One of the things I do is create a rotating environment for my painters. (I don't do clay in my classroom.) Depending on the project each table has a different color or two and they move from table to table to the colors they want. That way you're not pouring out ten containers of red and then trying to get it back in the bottle because most only used a small amount. It might work with glaze? Set up each table with a different glaze or couple of glazes and brushes. They have to move to the table of the color they want and then to the next color. This way no one will mix brushes and glazes together. Keep in mind I don't do clay so it's just a quick brainstorm. If you dip instead then I don't have a clue. :-)
Posted 13 February 2011 - 11:19 AM
I went to powdered commercial glazes after a few years of bottled pints and gallons. The powdered glazes allowed me to make up larger batches used for dipping. I limited my palate to about 14 colors in the beginning, and augmented them with accent colors of glaze and stain in pint containers. In this manner I could control the costs better. In the end though, as glazes continued to grow in cost, I switched to mixing my own. With a few base materials, and oxides I was able to get a color range that worked well. As for organizing all of this, the glazes were placed in a row on the floor, or on an old band riser so that the height was convenient. Pouring ladles were provided here. Then the stains and accent glazes were organized on a couple of tables with a wide variety of brushes.
Risers come in handy in a lot of ways in the classroom. Even high school children can be height challenged when it comes to wedging clay on a wedging table that is a little too high. A riser gives them room to brace feet, and wedge at a comfortable height. I would use it when wedging that 20-25Lb ball of clay as it gave me a better angle.
Posted 13 February 2011 - 11:41 AM
Head of Ceramics, Central Washington University
CWU offers; BA, BFA, and MFA Degrees, (Post Baccalaureate also available). Images of CWU Ceramics studio can be seen at
Posted 14 February 2011 - 04:35 PM
I happened to have downdraft tables in my studio that were purchased when they purchased for the shop classes. I also had an industrial air filter system. I used fine particle filter masks, and took precautions like use of spoons, and scoops, washing counters and floors, and used a spray booth when spraying. I would also mix glazes in the studio when students were not around-not because of the health problem, but because I needed to concentrate on my chemistry. As for mixing, the biggest problem was getting the water into the glaze without clouding. found it easier to put half the water into the container, add the powder carefully to the water. When all in, add a little more water and then mix slowly with drill/paint mixer. Increase speed as glaze becomes more consistent. Add water to desired thickness, and strain twice. Mixing up a 5 gal or 2 gal that way is really pretty clean, and easy.
Posted 24 February 2011 - 10:39 PM
If i get out the random pints (from previous teacher) the students are instructed to share and go to the pint, pint isn't in use it gets put back on the cart. I used art catalogs and cut out the glaze charts in them and taped the sample to each lid. I also re-wrote the glaze name on the lid to help with cleanup. I only use amaco in my classroom and have a poster of their colors but its like where's waldo and kids have a hard time matching names to glazes and get frustrated when i don't have a glaze they like.
I recently switched to gallons. I put these in properly labeled ziploc containers and have about 6 colors to choose from. I show the students how to enhance textures by sponging on dark colors, spattering, and layering to really make 6 colors seem like alot more. I demo techniques and have students go to the color they want which is at a specific table. If doing 2 colors in a class they let the glaze dry (which is pretty quick anyways) before moving to the next station. I usually set a timer so students know when to switch. I know it may be a major ceramist faux pas but I sometimes add food coloring to my blues and greens to help the students distinguish them while painting. I haven't noticed a change in the glaze outcome and if nothing has gone wrong yet I will keep doing it.
I would love to make the jump to dipping glazes (oh the time it would save and no more white spots), but i have alot of other glazes to use up first.