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In Love with Glaze

January 25, 2017 , In: Ceramic Clay, Clay, Inspiration, Studio
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It’s been a good start to the new year in my studio. I haven’t produced much, but I finally feel like I’m getting somewhere with my wheel throwing, and even though things aren’t turning out exactly as I want, they’re getting closer. Now I know I can make something that looks half decent, I’ve been researching how I’d like to decorate future creations.

While I’ve had my head down practicing, I haven’t been doing much else, so for my post today, I’d like to share some of what I’m planning for the year.

Tiny Fairy Bottle

I think one of my favourite parts of working with clay is the glazing. You get to play scientist while mixing and developing, and opening your kiln to an amazing result is one of the most satisfying things in the whole process. But it can also be one of the most disappointing. Creating what’s in your head through a combination of raw materials, heat and luck can be incredibly frustrating but also wonderfully rewarding. 

Definitely a keeper!

My first glaze love is lustre. I’ve played around a bit with commercials lustres, and raku firing, to try and create flashy colours but they don’t appeal to me in the same way that in-glaze lustre does. I’m definitely a magpie when it comes to glaze… the more lustrous the better!

Beautiful antique bowl by Zsolnay

The colours and effects are breath taking. 

Stunning lustre bowl by Greg Daly

The process is a complicated one. Work is fired in a gas reduction kiln with a schedule designed to draw out the colours of the glaze. I’ve been using my old raku bin kiln to test out if I could reproduce the effect, which worked, but I couldn’t control the cooling as it wasn’t very well insulated and pieces cracked, so I dug out an old kiln I had acquired which had been in a flood and needed repairing and set about converting it in to a larger version of the bin kiln. After quite a few dremel bits and lots of hammering, I’d cut a hole in the base and one in the top.

Converting the kiln

First firing

The damper is a kiln brick that covers the hole and the burner is the old weed burner from the raku bin. It isn’t pretty, but you have to make the best of it when you don’t have £4K for a fancy version!

It works though and I’m looking forward to developing more of this type of glaze in different colours.

Test Tiles

 

My second glaze love is crater glaze. I did quite a bit of research on this type of glazing when I made my lichen pendants.

The effect is done using silicon carbide and other raw materials which bubble when it reaches a high temperature.

Lichen Pendants

The matt crusty finish is really tactile and unlike commercial glazes which are easily reproduced, this type of glaze gives the piece a unique unrepeatable finish.

You can actually create this effect using commercial glazes, just by adding some silicon carbide to the mix, but be careful while firing as it bubbles and spits on to your shelves!

German Fat Lava pottery

One of my favourite lava glaze artists, Jan Lewin-Cadogan

And a pot from my own collection, made by Paul Wearing.

Paul Wearing Ceramics

I’m also going to explore more unglazed techniques. You can produce some amazing effects just on the bare clay using fire and smoke.

And I’m experimenting with using this effect along with partially glazed pieces to give some contrast to my work.

My main problem with all of this is trying to limit myself. It’s easy to get carried away and try to do everything! 

Hopefully I will have some successes to share through the year, but for now it’s back to the studio for more practice!

Caroline Dewison

Caroline Dewison is a lifelong addict of anything creative. She settled on ceramic beadmaking 3 years ago and can be found most days at the bottom of her garden playing with mud in her studio. She draws her inspiration from the natural world and wishes there were more hours in the day to explore all the ideas in her sketchbook. You can see more of her work on her blog - blueberribeads.co.uk.
    • Niky Sayers
    • January 25, 2017
    Reply

    Just amazing! You have a great eye for design Caroline and such a curious mind, watching your ceramic journey is such an adventure!

  1. Reply

    I love glazes too although I have not tried raku yet. Great job and I can’t wait to see more creations.
    -Kathy of Pajego Art House

    • Sarajo Wentling
    • January 25, 2017
    Reply

    Looks like you’ve been having fun! Drooling over those feathers!!!

  2. Reply

    OMG, those test tiles are ahh-mazing!! *cough* Any chance you’d be selling some of those?…and that bottom bowl, is that yours? Stunning!!

    • Reply

      Sorry Lori, the tiles are just for my reference, thanks for the lovely comment though! 🙂 And yes, the last bowl is one of mine!

  3. Reply

    Oh wow! you and me need to visit.. at your studio!!!

    • Kat Newman
    • January 26, 2017
    Reply

    Thank you for this, I look forward to seeing where you go with these! I’m a bit stuck with glazes, after 2 years of tinkering I haven’t really got to grips with them so watching intently 😉

  4. Reply

    Your work is amazing and I feel so lucky to have a few of your pieces featuring that beautiful glaze!

  5. Reply

    Your experimentation and work are amazing. I loved this post.

    • Terri Del Signore
    • January 27, 2017
    Reply

    Great post! I love your Lustre glazes!!

  6. Reply

    Your work is just fabulous! I love the lustre glazes also probably because I’m a huge raku addict! But the crater glaze…I think I’m in love with it. That crumbly looking texture-just beautiful.

  7. Reply

    Wow great loving the glazes also watching what you do with them as you play. Laney I’m with you need to come visit, Billie would love it too. Xx

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