• Katherine Fortnum

All about Glazing


This month I thought Id talk a bit about glazing. I get asked about it a lot in my workshops as there's a lot of confusion about how it all actually works together, there's a lot to consider when glazing your ceramic pieces.

The first stage in glazing is selecting your glaze, you need to consider several things.


Whats the size, shape and texture of your ceramic bisque ware? This will determine whats qualities you want the glaze to have. For example if your piece is tall you don't want a runny glaze, if a piece has 3D details you may want pooling from the glaze, its functional so you want it to be glossy etc.

Then there's technical aspects to consider - what clay body you use depends what temperature range your glaze has to fire to in order to mature. Does it need to be food safe?


The next stage is applying your glaze.

Depending how you have designed your piece determines whether you spray, paint, pour, dip, splash, roll on etc the glaze. Is your piece designed to be highly decorative with the glaze surface or is it simple?

The design will determine the technique you use.


Once you have applied your glaze its nearly ready to be fired. The next stage is very important as if you don't do this all the hard work you've gone into creating your piece, bisque firing and glazing will all be for nothing.

During a glaze firing the creamy glaze you applied goes through a chemical reaction and changes consistency. It turns from the powdery coating to a glaze, in essence what happens is the heat transforms the ingredients melting them, they spread like molten glass across the ceramic surface. The problem is if you have glaze on say the bottom of your pot, it will fuse itself to the kiln shelf during firing.

So the last stage once you've glazed your piece is to wipe it back. With a damp sponge you need to wipe off any residue on any surfaces that will touch the kiln shelf.

Once wiped back your piece is ready to be loaded for its glaze firing.

Keep popping back each month for more information on different ceramic topics, look out for building techniques, decorating techniques, technical know how and more!

Is there anything you'd like to know? Get in touch with your suggestions. :)

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