Pottery and Ceramics Glaze
Glaze is a thin layer of glass that sticks to the clay.
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Glazes are made up of basically three components:
These three components react to each other in the heat of the kiln to make a glaze and each has a specific job to do:
GLASSFORMERThis is the material that actually becomes glass.
Silica is the only glassformer used.
It has an extremely high melting temperature.
Silica is found in sand, quartz, feldspar, clay and other minerals.
REFRACTORIESA refractory is any material with a high melting point.
Silica has a high melting point, so it is both a glassformer and a refractory.
Silica is used in a glaze primarily for its glass forming properties.
Alumina is the element most used in glazes for its refractory properties.
Clay is the most common source of these elements.
Clay is made up of both silica and alumina, plus water and lots of other good stuff.
Clay increases the melted glaze’s viscosity so that it doesn’t melt into a thin liquid which would run off of the pottery and ceramic.
Clay also keeps the raw glaze materials in suspension when mixed with water.
Fluxes are materials which are used to lower the melting point of silica to a temperature that is practically attainable in the kiln such as, 1472˚ F to 2404˚ F.
Whiting or calcium carbonatefor calcium.
Dolomitefor calcium and magnesium.
Barium Carbonatefor barium, which is toxic!
Zinc Oxidefor zinc
Gerstley Boratefor boron.
Feldspars contain all three components of a glaze, the glassformer, silica, the refractory, alumina and several fluxes such as sodium, potassium, calcium, boron.
Salt for sodium.
The materials selected to be used in a glaze are mixed together as powders.
Then water is added to make a mixture the consistency of cream, it is then strained through a strainer to make sure it is well mixed and there are no lumps or chunks.
The glaze is then put onto clean bisqueware.
This can be done by spraying, painting, or dipping our pottery or ceramic into a bucket of glaze.
The glaze sticks to the porous bisque fired clay.
The glazed pottery or ceramic is then loaded into the kiln and fire to the specific temperature at which the glaze mixture will melt just enough to form a layer of glass, but not run off the pottery or ceramic.
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Have you ever come up with a good idea while working with your handmade pottery and thought that you would like to share it with others? You have? Well, why not send it to us and we will add it to the tips page for all to see.
Handmade pottery can be a very gratifying hobby that produces fun and satisfying results. For many people it's an enjoyable release that is created by working an inanimate mound of clay into a beautiful work of art that you made through your artistic abilities.
The best way of starting out is to take a few lessons from Youtube. You will probably waste quite a bit in materials when you first get started. Figuring out how to truly make handmade pottery correctly and shape into what you want it to be can be quite an ordeal. The different tools that a normal shop will have can be fun to try. You will soon see which ones you like to use the most and then when you are ready you will know which ones to buy.
With the help of the internet, you can now purchase most if not all of your ceramic and pottery tools and supplies online. We are located far from any well supplied dealers and yet working with reliable ceramic and pottery suppliers online has allowed us to recieve most of our orders within a timely manner.
When you get all set up, just enjoy the hobby and have fun at it. Some people get pretty serious and start selling their creations at craft fairs and small stores, but others just like to create items for themselves, relatives, and friends. Whichever kind of handmade pottery you desire to endeavor, enjoy the hobby and have fun doing it.
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