Saturday, January 16, 2010


January is zooming down the road for me.
It was weeks back when I was glazing to make sure we had Allison's tiles out of the kiln.
Her presentation for her Senior project was due on the 4th of January and that meant we had to fill up the rest of the electric kiln.

We wanted to try the white cone 6 clay from Takuro over at Star.
Mark and I both made tiles with the clay and I wanted to use the same glazes I have been using on Red Stone to see how they reacted with the white clay body.
Some of them I really liked.
And others I like better on the Red Stone.
I thought the red stone adds a warmth , which I am sure comes from the iron in the clay body.

The small flat tiles are out of the clay from Star and the edge of one of the pillow pots is out of the red stone.
I also put some thin black over the red glaze to warm it up.
I like the greens in the background on the white clay, but thought the red a little washed out looking.

A few years back I was teaching over at the Community College In Troy NC.
I was working with 11 students. I use the term lightly because the youngest was 19 ,but the majority were closer to my age.
They were all taking a special studies semester.
Some were concentrating on throwing, some on Raku ( Tracey would have been a great help! )
And I had one who wanted to learn about glaze.
I spent time with each person and talked about what and how we would proceed through the semester.
I had them write up what they wanted to accomplish.
The women who wanted to learn about glazes came to ask if she could just tell me.
I really wanted her to write it down and the she pulled me aside and told me that she spoke good English but her writing would be in Korean.
A bit of a snag since I did not read Korean.

She then pulled out a few photo's of her work and I found out she had a degree in Ceramics. Her work was wonderful and I was ready to become her student.
But she needed to know how to mix a glaze, this was the one thing she had not learned.
She had brought along her books for us to use on glazes which I took one look at and closed.
Here again was the problem the books were in Korean as well.
Do you read English I asked?
Yes, she said.
Here is the way to the Library go and check out as many books as you like on glazes and let's start there.
She and I were able to find a good footing on glazes and throwing skills.
And the benefit was there was another teacher teaching the afternoon class who was teaching just glazing.
The one thing I kept telling the students was to find a clay body first and glazes second.
Testing on one body will and can give you entirely different results.
How are you going to fire I would ask them, will you be using the school body?
If not bring in the body you will be using.
Are you going to fire gas, electric, wood?
Low fire- high fire.
These are all things I wished were presented to me when I was a student.
I know I came out of school with recipes and little knowledge on glazes.
They are still a bit of a mystery to me at times.

For the electric work and the tile project I decided I would use ready mix bought glazes.
I just did not feel I had the time for all the testing along with everything else I had going on.
I have found that I like some of these premixed glazes.
They are formulated to brush on well and are for the most part very stable.
I don't think I would ever do this with my gas kiln, but I like the ease of this for the tiles.
There are whole palettes of colors out there and I have begun to realize it is what you do with them and sometimes it is okay to "cheat" a little.


Linda Starr said...

Hi Meredith, I love those tiles, especially the bright red flowers. Makes me think of Spring coming along That is a real nice red color. Glad you brought up using the same glazes on two different clays; I need to keep this in mind. I used ready mixed glazes this time too for my recent cone 5/6 work because I just didn't have the space to mix and test those glazes. I already have a car full of cone 10 glazes. How interesting the Korean woman could read but not write English, what a fun class to teach with so many different tangents each student wanted to pursue.

Anonymous said...

i think you are correct... not cheating, it's what you can make them do. i think it would be daunting enough to teach glaze calc without having to cross language barriers, kudos.

Ben Stark said...

Sounds like that was a really interesting class! I'm with Linda--I like the bright red. And, using commercial glazes is definitely not cheating :)

Chrissy Ann Ceramics said...

I love those floral tiles! So bright & whimsical! :)
I would love them for my kitchen.. too bad I rent.
Have a great weekend~ Chrissy said...

My friend Laura Farrow uses only commercial glazes and she uses them like paints. They are amazing the way she applies them. She uses Georgies glazes and Coyote, they have some great colors. She almost has me convinced to try some, but they are a bit high in price for me.
I like the tiles!

Barbara said...

A story well told about your student. That red and green are both so different on the different clays but beautiful on both. The commercial glazes are good to have around for the colors you don't use very often, too.