Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Waxing and Glazing

Time to wax.

No, not my legs, my eyebrows OR my chin. Not that they couldn't use a little waxing.

Time to wax my pots.

This is my glazing studio. It is overflowing with toxic, dangerous and messy stuff.
This is where the backbreaking work of pottery making gets done.
This is where I need an apprentice. Someone to do the dirty work for me. The heavy lifting.
So I can just play with the clay and be creative.

But clay doesn't become pottery without the backbreaking work that goes on in this studio.

So time to get going...

This is my garage sale electric frying pan where I melt candle stubs. I use the wax to coat the bottoms of the pots. Any surface that touches another surface such as the bottoms or the lid seats of jars, cannot have glaze on it. When the glaze melts and then cools to become hard, it will stick to the other surface. Waxing speeds up the glazing process by repelling the glaze from where I don't want it to be.

The foot of a bowl or plate also needs to be waxed.
The small pieces don't take long to do in my frying pan. Large pieces have to be done with a brush.

Before I can start glazing, I have several glazes that need to have a new batch mixed up and all the glazes need to be put through a sieve to get out lumps that formed over the winter. This is the messy, time-consuming and low paying part.

I have a folder of glaze formulas. Too bad I didn't pay more attention in Chemistry class in tenth grade. The information could have been useful to me now.

So this is what I tell my kids when they whine "who needs to know this (insert high school subject of choice here)?" You never know what knowledge you may need in the future! I never would have guessed I'd be using this much Chemistry in my older age.

It's useful to know what all these chemicals do. Which ones act as fluxes, which are opacifiers and what are colorants. Or, some people like me just follow the directions and don't deviate to far from the recipe. I can make stuff up in the kitchen, but in the studio it gets dangerous!

I measure the minerals and chemicals on this old school gram scale.
It works for me.

Don't forget the safety equipment!

The formulas are written in grams and I multiply according to how big of a batch I need.

This lavender mineral is cobalt carbonate.
It makes glazes beautiful blues and greens.

I keep a wet sponge handy to keep the mineral dust to a minimum.

Once I have measured out all the ingredients I mix them into a bucket of warm water.

Then I strain the glaze through a sieve to make it smooth and creamy. This may takes several strains and the thing that gets strained the most....is my back!

Next: part 2 - glazing pottery


  1. I have never learned how to mix a glaze. I have sooo much to learn. Will I ever have the time?

  2. Do you have the ability to post video? I would love to see you throw something.

  3. I can post video. I think. I'm gonna try in a minute.

    I plan to post a video of my roaring kiln on fire this week.


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