Monday, April 20, 2009

Please Glaze My Vase

When I first started making pots I so happy they turned out without cracking or warping. Later I wanted them to have a 'pretty' glaze. I looked at the colors of the glazes available and said to myself, "Oh, I like that color" and I would put it on the pot. If the glaze didn't crawl and covered the pot evenly I was happy.

Now I think about the use of the piece and try to visualize what the piece will look like after it's glazed. I also think some forms lend themselves to various glazes. Perhaps one color glaze is more popular than another. Maybe one glaze breaks over texture better than another and so on. Now it seems like it's harder and harder to decide how to glaze pieces I have made, probably because I can think of more possibilities.

I've been thinking about this porcelain vase for over a week now and still haven't decided how to glaze it. I would definitely like to make this form again. Besides the fact that I like the shape, I can see so many possibilities of how it could be glazed. The vase stands about 14 inches tall and about 5 inches at it's widest. It's slab built from B-Mix porcelain and smooth without any texture. The vase is only about an inch thick and the sides are pinched together almost like piecing together fabric. The vase has an opening just large enough for one stem to fit.

Today I was thinking of applying contrasting bands around the pot. Sorry about the darkness of these examples; they are photos of photos printed on typing paper. Gary picked out the first example and called it, "Miss Mississip". He said it looks like the ribbons placed on beauty queen contestants. What about you, how do you decide to glaze your pots? How would you glaze my vase?

Later today I thought a flowing blue and gold glaze would be so nice. Can you picture this beautiful chun glaze by Peter Gregory on my pot? (scroll down to the end of his post to see his plates - that's the glaze I was thinking of). A glaze that will flow down from the top in multiple colors. My vase is in the bisque load now. I'm not sure I'll be able to get it out and glazed and into the glaze load for the next run, but I am hoping I can.

So I'm asking for you to please glaze my vase. Don't be shy, go ahead and make a comment on how you would glaze this vase. You could either provide a link to one of your glazed pots or a link to a glaze you think would look good on this vase. I've always thought it would be fun to make a piece of pottery and have someone else glaze it; so asking here is the next best thing. I think this could be fun, and, of course, I'm hoping I can learn something by asking you to glaze my vase. Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

My hollyhocks haven't started blooming yet this year, but I took this photo of a black hollyhock in my garden last year.


  1. Hi Linda,

    I wonder if you have, or can get hold of, a copy of The Complete Guide to High Fire Glazes by John Britt? It is full of really good advice, recipes, and photographs. There is a useful preview of it on Google Book Search. If you just type "britt carbon trap shino" into Google, you should find it. If you had control of the firing, which I know (sadly) you have not, I would have said, "try a carbon trap shino!" There is one in Britt's book I love on page 86, Penn State Shino, and also Malcolm's Shino on page 79. I haven't tried either myself yet, but want to give them a go.

    As it is, you have got a nice wide base on your vase, and you could risk a flowing glaze, or at least one that moves a bit. Britt has some spectacular copper reds illustrated, for example the wild Flambe over Turner Red on page 96. I love copper reds, and porcelain would show them up well, and your base would cope with any runs.

    Chun could work, the ones I use will work in reduction and in oxidation. If you ever wanted to try any of the ones I play with I would be really happy to send a few recipes. It'd be fun for me to see your version of them.

    Laura says, "don't get too fussy with the bands!"

    Thanks for kindly mentioning me on your site.

    May your hollyhocks bloom well again this year; that black one is utterly beautiful. (It has me thinking copper, barium, rutile, and heaps of reduction!)

    Best Regards, P.

  2. I agree that John Britt's book is fabulous-full of great photos & recipes. And lots of information no matter what temp you are firing too.

    That vase has a wonderful shape so I would keep the glaze simple to let the form speak.

    And yes that hollyhock color is stunning.

  3. oooh, good advice about that book, although I would suggest a nice buttery yellow glaze!

  4. Hi Linda!
    Boy- is this hard.
    I like to work with a shape and make serveral of them. That way if I have more then one I could glaze them serveral differnt ways to see if I like one glaze combination more then another. What will this do.....
    My suggestion is to make more and then take each one along with your glazes and do some exploring.
    Love that flower!

  5. I'd do several too. I like the idea of a flowing glaze on the pot, but you could also contrast the flowing form with some graphic linear designs or scraffito marks. Clay work presents almost too many options sometimes, doesn't it???!!

  6. Well, you know what I would do, Raku that baby! Solnder Surprise or Pipenburg :)

  7. Lately, shinos have been my favorite. I have much to learn in the glaze world, and I have yet to work with porcelain. My latest favorite shino has been spotted shino with alfred's blue over it for accents at the rim as it ran a bit on the last batch of cups that came out of the gas kiln. what an interesting post! And you seem to have a zillion flowers at your place. Wow!

  8. Hi Everybody, thanks for glazing my vase; I will have to respond after tomorrow. I have picked up some sort of a bug, first time to be sick in over 10 years (other than my back) and I need to get well so I can get all my glazing done tomorrow evening for what will probably be the last glaze load of the semester. Thanks so much. Talk to you after tomorrow.

  9. Sorry to read you are not well. Hope you are better soon. I posted photos of the glazed pots from the demonstration day and glaze tests from my latest electric firing on my site.
    Kind Regards, Peter.

  10. Ok, I'm back slightly, I don't like taking antibiotics, but... well I won't get into the details, but I needed them. Slept in 2 hour stints last night, but it all added up to enough to get me through, hopefully.

    Hi Peter, thanks I have looked at John's glazes on the Clay Club blog and his book is on my list to get and I did the google search and there are some great tips in that book - on how to fire too. It just so happens I have had a bit of luck which I will post about next. I have tried shino's at the kiln at school and they just don't work there; once we sell our house I would love to take the glazing class at Clay Club with John to learn more about glazing... someday. Laura is right about the bands, once I drew them I saw they were too fussy with such a smooth and simple design, sometimes I just have to draw them and then I see they aren't quite right, and I showed Gary one of your Chun glazes and he agreed a flowing glaze would be much better.

    Hi Judy, thanks, you have hit it on the head, letting the form speak. I am learning so much about clay. I make the form, then I have to step back and think about it. I am still learning all about how to combine the two processes of glazes and forms.

    Hi Gary, a buttery yellow, thanks, I wish I could achieve one of your buttery yellow glazes or one of Otto Heino's - the one whose recipe he won't tell about, hehe.

    Hi Meredith, thanks, now I wish I had made more of this form. I plan on doing that, this form was really fun to make but kind of hard to keep it standing till it hardened up a bit. When I made it I kind of held it up with dowel and the next morning I went out to the studio and almost didn't get the dowel out, yikes. I had a dream last night about some tools I want to make to help me build some of my forms.

    Hi Patricia, thanks, I think it would be a good experiment to have four or five of one form and glaze them all differently and see how they look next to one another. I would like to try that with this form - some graphic linear designs or scraffito as you are saying would be interesting to me. This form really can stimulate my mind to do a lot of thinking which I am really enjoying.

    Hi Tracey, thanks, I just heard about a raku kiln for $800 - wish we had already moved I would purchase it - I hope to be able to take a raku workshop one of these days to see what it is all about, perhaps when we sell I can take one from you - that would be so much fun.

    Hi Amy, thanks about the flowers, I do have lots of them, too many for me to take care of now. I would love to get a good shino, but our firings just don't do them justice here. I took a workshop from Malcolm Davis and if I recall from my notes correctly, early reduction is the key and our firings are reduced at the end.

    Hi Peter, thanks, I just got on your blog briefly, amazing colors for such a low temp firing. I have a lot to learn.

    I wonder what I would think or do if someone else asked me to glaze their pot. It would be very hard for me to say, and I appreciate all of your input on this post. Perhaps the hardest part of glazing this vase is the fact that I have only one and it is the end of the semester and I have only one opportunity or choice I can make right now. I plan on making this form in Cone 5 clay this summer and will have more opportunities to think about this one.

    Thanks to all who make comments on my blog, you are all the best teachers and I appreciate your being there.

  11. Linda - I'm a lazy glazer, so not sure I can be of help. I tend to use a limited palette to compensate for my lack of creativity in that area. It's something I plan on working on this summer.

    I suppose the best thing to do if the vase is precious to you it to do some glaze testing first on other forms - glaze combos, new glazes, overlapping etc.

    Either that, or just go for it - make another similar vase later...


I love suggestions, questions, critiques, thanks for your comment