Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Sticky Business

I had it in my head to show my students a technique using wax resist between glazes, when I ran into two obstacles: the apparent discontinuation of the thicker form of water-based wax resist; and my inability to find a glaze trailing pen that had not been clogged up by said resist. In my studio, I use paraffin wax, but it's not great for thin lines, tjanting tool notwithstanding. The staff at portland Pottery also prefer that we use water-based wax rather than paraddin or beeswax, since the kilns are indoors and the smell of burning wax can be pretty overpowering. But I digress.

Anyway, while looking for a glaze trailing pen, my eye lit upon the Elmer's glue bottle that is always around to assist with glaze mends, when you don't want to handle or whatever to get shifted out of place while being loaded, since only gravity is holding it in place until the firing.
Hmm...wonder if Elmer's would work in place of wax?

It didn't, exactly; it worked more like latex. The glaze clung to it, but the dried glue itself removed very easily from the pot, leaving a clean resist pattern.

Elmer's compares to latex like this:

  • It's a whole bunch cheaper. That's a plus, obviously.
  • It dries a lot slower. Minus. It took about 15 minutes for the glue to be dry enough that it wouldn't run when I turned the pot. A student suggested thickening the glue with cornstarch. It took almost an hour for the glue to be dry enough to remove.
  • It came off the pot much more easily than the latex resists I have used.
  • If you rinse your brush immediately, you won't destroy the hairs the way latex resists and wont to do.
Next I tried it on an unglazed pot, and had similar results, although it was a little more difficult to get the glue off the bare bisqued clay.

One of the things I love about my profession is that there are always new discoveries to be made.

In a related note, I recently bought some of Amaco's latex resist. (If I had discovered the glue trick first, I would have saved my $13.) It is in every way a superior product to Laguna's similar resist, except that it is smellier. The consistency is better, it removes more easily and even seem slower to destroy brushes.


DirtKicker Pottery said...

That's pretty cool! Thanks for sharing. I love blog posts that inspiring and informative :)

Natalie -- NKP Designs said...

Awesome tip, thank you for sharing!

Melissa Rohrer said...

That's interesting to know about using glue. Latex is something I don't use often so when I got it out to use recently it had separated- one part almost solid and the other clear liquid. Couldn't get it to mix.

Lori Watts said...

Melissa - I had that problem once when my latex had frozen: after it thawed it was ruined.