{May 15, 2012}   Amazing Glazing

If it’s fun to throw a pot, it’s even more fun—and easier—to glaze it after it’s fired.

Last month, my sister-in-law Lisa gave us the opportunity to use a pottery wheel for the first time. (Read more about the experience here.)

After our creations were fired in the kiln, she invited us back to glaze them. Pottery glaze is used to “coat, color, preserve, or otherwise leave the artist’s signature finish on a ceramic piece.” Glazes contain silica, which melts and forms glass when heated at a high temperature.

Before we started, Lisa pulled out examples of glazed cups, vases and dishes to show us how different glazes might look after the items are fired in the kiln. We could choose one color or combine colors for different effects.

The glazes we used look similar to paint. There are different ways to apply glaze, but we used brushes to paint or drip it on, depending on the results we wanted.

Four-year-old Jamie hadn’t used a pottery wheel, but had a ball making “marbles” and little “bowls” by hand. The marbles could not be glazed, but he decided to glaze each bowl in one color. He painted two with orange glaze and three in green. (He decided the largest one is just right for holding tiny LEGO studs.)

Dylan, 7, had thrown a bowl and two cups. He painted the bowl with two coats of pink glaze, let it dry, and then dripped Black Magic over the edge. The resulting color combination is reminiscent of a strawberry ice cream sundae…yummy!

One of his cups he painted with two coats of yellow, then dripped some red along its top edge for a cool effect. The second cup he painted green, then dripped a speckled glaze called Blue Caprice along its top edge. This glaze itself is light blue and has a gritty texture, so it was hard to imagine exactly what it would look like after it was fired. It turned out great!

I was taken with the Blue Caprice glaze as well. I painted my shallow bowl with two coats of leaf green. I then added the speckled glaze along its top edge, letting it drip down the sides and inside. After it dried a bit, I dripped an opalescent glaze called Bluebell over top. I love the contrast of the robin’s egg blue and darker blue flecks with the bright green base.

I decided to paint my plate with a purple glaze. When it was dry, I covered it completely with a coat of Blue Caprice. It didn’t look like much when we added it to the kiln. But after it was fired—wow—the flecks of gold, green and blue are amazing!

When Dylan saw it, he said, “Mom, it looks like a real plate!”

“It is a real plate,” I replied.

“No, I mean like a real manufactured plate.”

I’ll take that as a quite a compliment.

Want to know more about my 47 and fearless project? Click here.


Tina says:

Glazing really is amazing the way it comes out of the kiln looking “real manufactured.” Sounds like the boys had fun and all your stuff looks cool. Dylan’s comment says it all, as usual! Phoebe pointed out the Hershey syrup bottle label the other day–right on front in big letters: “Genuine Chocolate Flavor”

It was a lot of fun! And the boys think it’s cool to use what they made. Dylan ate strawberries out of his bowl the next morning, then Jamie asked if could use it at lunch. (Of course, he wanted to fill it with “genuine chocolate” brownies!)

Michelle says:

So fun! I haven’t done pottery since high school. I love the surprise of glazing a piece and seeing how it comes out after firing. The plate you made looks wonderful, Julie! The marbles Jamie made are so shiny! But I think I’m going to say that Dylan’s red and orange cup is my favorite….love the brightness! Thanks for sharing 🙂

Thanks, Michelle! It was a surprise to see how nicely our pieces turned out. I tend to stick toward blues and greens in most things, so it was fun to see the color combos Dylan selected. He’ll be happy to know his vivid cup is your favorite!

Michelle says:

I usually stick to darker colors and blues and greens as well. This might be why I liked Dylan’s cup…it’s so different from what I would make!

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