Pottery glazes are complex mixtures that fuse to pottery when placed in a kiln at high temperatures. Glazes are responsible both for decorating the pottery and for creating an attractive glossy surface that protects the pottery from wear and water. While glazing can be a long and involved process, it is not too hard to learn, and results will improve with practice. If you're one of those people who has trouble with glaze chemistry for a start think of a glaze simply as a thin coating of glass.
Start with an unglazed, hard ceramic. Typically, these objects have gone through a "bisque" firing process to make it hard. Unlike some types of fired ceramic, bisque has a porous, absorbent surface. This allows it to absorb wet glaze, which will then create a protective waterproof finish when the ceramic is fired a second time.
If you have a clay object you made yourself, fire it in the kiln to make it hard but still porous before you glaze. The exact temperature to fire your object depends on its size and type of clay, so if possible ask the advice of an experienced potter.
Firing temperatures may be listed simply as "high" or "low", or referred to as "cone 2", "cone 4", etc. These measurements refer to potters' cones made from different clay types, which sag at different temperatures in the kiln.
Perhaps one of the most enjoyable things about working with clay is the endless variety of techniques that can be tried and experimented with to yield new and exciting ways to decorate one's pots. Combination glazing, in which two or more glazes are combined to achieve various effects, can be performed in many different ways to achieve countless possibilities.
Peek-a-boo color is a trend that’s taken hold in a big way in the home accessories realm. It’s not like it’s something radically new, but somehow, it looks fresh; especially when paired with a milky matte exterior finish and a hint of texture.
If you want to enhance the depth of your bowl, this will be the great technique for that result, using different colours you can accentuate the shape or detail inside.
Simply put the glaze into the inside of a pot, swirl it around and let it run out.
There are as many ways of applying and working with glaze as there are of making the initial form. Each technique has its own nuances in finish and quality, depending on the tools, materials, and processes used. Your preferences and the desired results for a particular piece should be the two driving factors in choosing the proper glaze application technique. Some pieces may need just a quick dip, while others require delicate brush work, and multiple glazes and firings.
Low Fire Glazes
Low Fire glazes offer a wide range of colors and effects with a lower firing temperature. Suitable for brightly colored pottery, earthenware sculpture, and school projects.
No matter what your interest—color, texture, surface effect, majolica or slips—you’re sure to discover something you can use on your work from these successful glazes the pros are using. If you’ve been looking for a new low-fire glaze recipe to use as a base glaze for functional work, or maybe you’re in need of some highly unusual surface treatments, then you’ll find the assortment here covers glossy to matt and crusty to smooth. And by the time you add in all the possible variations through your experiments, your low-fire glaze palette should be teaming with possibilities. And remember, results vary with clay bodies, materials, and firing schedules, so be sure to test all your glazes in small batches using your own materials and equipment.
Considered a "soft" glaze, it is less durable than the underlying claybody. Due to the relatively low melting point, the presence of lead is almost definite. However, if the lead is used in a "frit", the danger of lead poisoning is greatly reduced if not altogether eliminated.
High Fire Glazes
High fire glazes are typically fired at cone 9-10. Mid and high fire were historically used to achieve more muted, earthy colors. But glazes have continued to improve and now many different glaze characteristics can be achieved at each of the firing temperatures. High fire is not often used in electric kilns because it is harder on the kiln and takes so much more power.
High-fire glazes tend to be more durable, but have less color, whereas low-fire glazes are more colorful but are less durable, and intermediate glazes provide a good compromise. When purchasing ceramic pieces, it is important to consider the type of glaze in terms of food safety, durability, and fit with the underlying claybody.
High-temperature glazes are known as stoneware and porcelain glazes. They tend to be more durable but less vibrant in color. Functional pieces such as casseroles and dinnerware are usually better if they are high-fired ware. Sometimes referred to by the "cone" to which they are fired, as in a Cone 10 glaze.
Glazing artist’s pieces
Contemporary clay sculpture is perhaps the most diverse range of sculpture in existence, perhaps because clay has been used to make art objects longer than any other material.
From a small maquette to a large, highly decorated ceramic figure, whether you’re investigating large or small scale forms, discovering new designs or techniques for your own ceramic art, or just want some new sculpture ideas to add to your repertoire there is a plenty possibility’s to glaze your art piece.
1. Make a plan, and take your time, this is the final step in creating your piece, so don’t rush.
2. Ensure that the surface you are applying glaze is dry and free from dust.
3. Use a soft pencil to sketch on the piece to show where you’d like to apply glaze.
4. Determine how the piece will set in the kiln, and do not put glaze where piece will touch the shelf.
Ceramic sculpture pieces can be glazed on different ways, with combination of slip and under glazing, highlighting the details and using different brushes (Mop Brush, traditionally used to apply glazes, these brushes are also god for slip and underglaze color application)
Glazes goes from shiny to matte, transparent to opaque, depending on the application.
Sculpture ceramic piece can be made with handballing technique and casting forms.