Monday, June 9, 2014

Embedded Glaze Decoration

Like a lot of my students, I used to hate glazing. Glazing was just this tiresome, messy thing you had to do so that the things you had fun throwing or building could get fired and finished. Well, baby, things change!

Glazing is now as fun for me as throwing, or altering. I treat glazing more actively now - no more just dunking in a bucket and hoping for the best. To be clear, I do still do some dunking - in slip if nothing else - but I also trail and brush and dot. And now carve and embed.


This is a new technique for me. In fact I think I invented it! Possibly somebody else is doing something like this, somewhere, but I haven't seen it. I was just trying to think of something to show my advanced students that they haven't seen before.

Unlike brushed or trailed glaze, the embedded glaze doesn't lay on top of  or under the glaze layer; it's surrounded by it. It's sort of like sgraffito and mishima combined, only with glaze instead of slip. Most glazes stay in the shapes you carve, with more or less feathering at the edges, depending on the fluidity of the two glazes. The glazes remain their true colors, instead of whatever color they would be in combination. It goes like this:

Pour or dip a layer of glaze on your pot. Wait for it to dry, about 5-10 minutes. Apply a coat of paraffin wax over the whole pot. The wax should be pretty hot - I think it was about 275 degrees. It's harder to control wax when it's that hot, as it's very fluid. That doesn't matter, since you are covering the whole surface anyway, but careful, because ow!



Using a sgraffitto tool, cut through both the wax and the glaze, so that the tool is scraping against the bisqued clay. This works best for lines and simple shapes, my efforts to carve spirals and swirls resulted in the wax coming off in chunks. (Possibly I just need more practice!)


Dip the pot in the second glaze, or brush the second color over the carved surface. If you brush use a good brush like a mop or a hake, that holds a lot of glaze. The color will embed in the carved lines where there is no wax, resulting in a contracting inlaid pattern.



The photo at the top shows the first one of these I ever did. The jaunty jar in the demo will be in the next firing...the one that was supposed to happen on Sunday. The more decoration I do the longer it takes to glaze! I wasn't even finished glazing on Sunday, never mine loading, never mind firing! Hoping to finish up the last few pots on Wednesday, and load; then the next chance I have to fire is Sunday, again.

1 comment:

Melanie Mann Pollon said...

Beautiful. I've done the same thing when I needed to find projects to do with a kids' 4-day camp - had to complete everything 'wet' as there was no time to bisque fire. However, I just used the regular wax that we use on feet before glaze dipping. We let the wax set overnight but kept pieces covered so they didn't dry out and were still easily carved.

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