Glazing results and assessment

It was fascinating to see the results of my latest glaze firing. I’m not sure there was even one piece that came out looking anything like I expected it to. I really do have so much more to learn about glazes and I’m currently working mainly with bought ones (that weren’t quite as advertised), not ones I’ve devised myself . That said, the majority of things I’d fired were slip decorated and just had a transparent glaze layer added, but still looked very different to how I’d imagined they’d look. At this stage though each finished piece holds something of value and hopefully leads me onwards to more successful ideas. There’s so much to be gained from every firing.

The above plates looked really promising at the bisque fired stage but the splashes of red from the red iron oxide slip have been reduced to a weak beige. The white slip which I’d applied as a top layer must have been brushed on too thinly and overall the plates came out much darker than I’d expected, with a minimal feeling of layering. I’d also added an oxide wash on the underside but this must also have been too weak or washed off too well, as the bottom of the plates looked more like naked clay. I was happy with the way the transparent glaze came out though. It had a more matter appearance on these than on some of the others. Not sure why. Position in the kiln maybe. I’ll have to ask Dave. I did still like the effect of the slurry that I’d built up on the edges of the plates though and the score lines through it so I think it’s still worth refining this design. Hopefully as my glazing and surface decoration skills improve I’ll get more reliable results!

With these ones I felt that the layering was better but I still didn’t get quite the colours I wanted.  I think next time I might try applying the black slip and printing on to the slab before I roll the edges. The transparent glaze was very glossy here as well.

The above bowl was supposed to complement the plates below but somehow looks quite different to them.  I was really pleased with it’s exterior which has grown on me even more as it’s sat in the studio.  The slip application seems looser somehow and it was enhanced by the white glaze from the interior running down the sides a bit.  The inside I’m less happy with as I’d crumbled some wire wool into the bottom just to see what effect it would give and the little lines left behind just look a bit wrong when juxtaposed with the outside. It’s something that might work better against a different glaze though and with more fibres. It’s a useful thing to have tried though and experimentation like this is something I’ll continue to do.

These plates both turned out to be a bit smaller than I hoped.  Again they lacked the layers I thought I’d given them and the transparent glaze was too glossy.  I do quite like them but don’t feel there’s anything all that special about them.  The oxide-washed, surformed edges were successful and something I’ll be using again.

All these and a few more items made it down to UCLAN for my first assessment.  It felt slightly nerve wracking assembling these pieces for the assessors and my fellow students to see, but it was very useful to have this pause six months into my MA, to take stock of where I am.  It’s good to see how much progress I’ve made even if I’ve still got a long way to go.

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