|Coloured glazes used by Tinkling toadstools|
Similarly, the potter will often claim that making glazes gives him the same type of satisfaction, is cheaper and gives him more scope for creativity! But lets look at the issues involved in making glazes in detail to see if his claims are true:-
|Unique copper ruby glaze|
Technical restrictionsIn practice, however, there is considerable science behind making acceptable glazes:
- The glaze needs to technically match the body or the glaze may just peel off like old paint.
- There is a limit to the range of compositions that can be made- for example some recipes will just never make glossy glazes.
- The firing cycle and atmosphere have as great an affect on the glaze appearance as the recipe.
So if you want to be creative with glazes you also need to have some technical knowledge. Potters without a scientific background may struggle to understand these technical parameters and hence making glazes could ultimately become more trouble than its worth.
Health and Safety
Equally important is an understanding of the legislation that applies to the fired product to meet the demands of the end market. Functional tableware has to meet much more legislation than ornamental ware in the various countries around the world.
In summary making your own glazes safely and successfully is much more difficult than at first appreciated. Technical and health and safety issues are not easy to overcome. However for a potter or hobbyist with a scientific understanding he can indeed be more creative and lower some material costs by making his own glazes. For the uninitiated it will be a long road of trial and error and frustrations. For those determined to try I recommend you do some reading and preparation online or in the wealth of books available before you begin.