Saturday, September 29, 2012


I love throwing porcelain on my wheel. I love sculpting and sgraffito. I love drawing and painting and layering oxides and underglazes. I do not love glazing.
I’m trying but, truth be told, I find the process tries my patience.

I used to think it was because of my lack of experience with it. Yes, that's part of it. But, I know that even experienced ceramic artists are constantly learning about glazing. A big part of my struggle is finding the space and place to perform the functions required to get a good glaze. I don’t have the luxury of having buckets of glaze in my studio to quickly dip each piece. I don’t have a glazing station like big production potters. I’ve had to find a procedure that's efficient and effective for me in my small space.

I’ve found a system and procedure that allows me to pour glaze smoothly in my studio. It’s a small victory for me. Why then, do I get a glazed look in my eye when the time comes to pour glaze?

Glazing is really a lot like painting a room. And I feel the same way about it: I love it and I hate it.
There’s much more to painting a room than paint. The same is true of glazing.

There’s a lot of prep work before you even get started. Select the color. Get the right consistency for brushing or pouring. I now use my blender for this job, so no more yogurt smoothies. Set up the studio with mixing bowls, turntable, clean yogurt containers for pouring, brushes, sponges and water for clean-up. Get the clay pieces ready to go. NOW, finally, you do it. Pour the glaze inside each piece. Set them aside to dry. Pour the glaze from the bowl into the pitcher. Remix the glaze. Turn the pieces upside down, prop them up in the bowl. Pour again. Wipe the excess glaze or drips off the pieces.
Clean all your bowls, brushes, sponges, pitchers, props and papers. Select the next color. Repeat.
I finally figured it out. It’s about patience and I’m not the most patient person. I try, really. I do. And I really hate all the prep and clean up. But maybe, I need to see through the haze of glaze to the end result. Be consistent, steady and organized. Get it done. Let it go.

Glazing is all about the result: colorful, beautiful and fun functional pieces of art that can be used and enjoyed every day. See that my patience pays off, after all.

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