Some of my former students had asked me to teach them about glazemaking. I see this as a common issue for potters who have come up through a community studio program. Glazemaking is not taught in these studios. For good reason, the results could be disastrous. But when someone becomes interested in establishing their own studio at home, they find that glazemaking is an intimidating hurdle.
This summer, I developed a glazemaking workshop designed for this type of potter. The workshop covered all the basics: how to buy and store the raw materials, how to mix small test batches, how to mix full-size buckets, and how to develop new recipes. The workshop met for three Saturdays in June. Then I held another session on three Saturdays in August, because there was more interest in the class than I expected.
Everyone learned a quick method for making proper test tiles.
They each picked a glaze recipe to start with, then they made two test-size variations of the same recipe.
The batches were sieved ...
... then poured into a six-step line blend. The test tiles were numbered and dipped into all six samples.
It was a lot of work!
And here are the fired results. As you can see, everyone did a very detailed and thorough job of measuring and mixing.
A simple line blend is the basic building block for developing new recipes. With this experience, these students can continue to test new recipe ideas on their own. They spent a lot of time analyzing and discussing each other's test tiles, from which they gained a lot of materials knowledge. How does this oxide/opacifier/flux affect the result? They have a lot of exploration ahead of them, but they know how to find information about raw materials, and how to test their ideas. Plus, you can't learn how to do a line blend without becoming comfortable with measuring and sieving glazes, so they can start working with known recipes right away.
To potters in the Washington, DC area: If you are interested in taking this glazemaking workshop, leave a comment here to express your interest. Or use the Contact Form on this website. If there is enough interest, I will hold the workshop again in the spring of 2016.
To potters everywhere: I am also planning to develop a series of wheel-throwing instructional videos. I have lots of great projects that I taught to my students over the years, that I'd like to share with the world in video format. I think this is another gaping need in adult pottery education ... the number of student throwers who want some expert instruction, but don't have access to it. I think I can fill this need. If you think you'd be interested in these, leave a comment here, or use the Contact Form to let me know.