Finishing Techniques Class

November 7, 2010 at 6:05 am (About my process, Studio and Environment) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

On Thursday I’m going to be teaching my first class. I’m nervous and excited. The class is called Finishing Techniques. Its a class idea I came up with from listening to people’s frustration with glazing. A lot of potters and crafters hate glazing. As one lady put it, “I love my pot but I just know I’m going to ruin it.”

Glazing can be very unpredictable to the inexperianced potter. Glaze when applied looks very different from what it looks liked fired, and there’s added “spontinatiy” when you start layering glazes. With ∆6 electric you have to layer glazes to get anything interesting too. (∆6 glazes on their own can be petty dull.) You can get it too thick and obscure details that you liked, or too thin and not get the look that you want from the glaze.

So I’m doing a class on finishing pots. What I want to teach people is how to look at their pot, identify the features that they like about the pot, and how to best enhace them with their glaze. I’m also teaching about slips and engobes. Most importantly to the kiln master, I’m going to teach them how to avoid glaze running onto the shelf.

Its a class that’s largely about practicing. I’m not going to go into glaze making, but the act of using a glaze. All the classes I’ve ever encountered about glazing have always been about chemistry and composition. Figuring out how to use the darn things has been left to individual exploration and experience without much guidance. Most dedicated potters get along. We take glaze chemistry classes, learn to use test-tiles and find a glaze or two that we love. Sometimes we find a process that we love that doesn’t require much by the way of glazing before firing. Granted, these processes require a lot more kiln maintenance, but its possible that most of the glazing decisions aren’t made by you but the kiln.

I don’t know, maybe others have had a class like this, and I just missed out. Maybe there’s not a class like this for a good reason and I’m about to find out why. I would like to think that’s not the case, and that we’re going to have a lot of fun.

In a side note: here’s a really awesome sculpture I found while looking for fused pots: WOW! from:


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