Glazing and Firing – The Final Touches in Pottery

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Glazing and Firing – The Final Touches in Pottery

Objective: To provide a comprehensive understanding of glazing and firing, including the different types of glaze and how to apply them, as well as the firing process and how it affects the final result.

Materials Needed:

  • Bisque-fired pottery pieces
  • Glaze
  • Brushes
  • Mixing bowls and spoons
  • Kiln

Introduction: Glazing and firing are the final steps in the pottery-making process, and they can greatly affect the final outcome of your pieces. In this lesson, we'll cover the basics of glazing and firing and provide you with the knowledge you need to create beautiful, functional pieces.

  1. Types of Glaze: There are many different types of glaze, each with its own unique properties. Some common types of glaze include glossy, matte, and satin glazes, as well as opaque and translucent glazes. Each type of glaze can be applied in different ways, and the type of glaze you choose will depend on the desired outcome of your piece.

  2. Applying Glaze: Applying glaze to your pieces is a delicate process that requires a steady hand and a good understanding of the properties of your glaze. Start by cleaning your bisque-fired pieces and then brush on a thin, even layer of glaze. Be sure to cover all areas of the piece, and avoid getting glaze on the bottom or on areas that will be in contact with other pieces in the kiln.

  3. Firing: Firing is the process of heating your glazed pieces in a kiln, which can affect the final outcome of your pieces in a number of ways. Different firing temperatures and atmospheres can result in different effects on the glaze, so it's important to understand how your glaze will react to different firing conditions.

Example Glaze Recipe:

  • Water: 3785 grams (1 gallon)
  • Potash Feldspar: 2268 grams (5 pounds)
  • Kaolin: 1361 grams (3 pounds)
  • Ball Clay: 1361 grams (3 pounds)
  • Silica: 907 grams (2 pounds)
  • Borax: 453 grams (1 pound)


  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and stir until well mixed.
  2. Slowly add water until the glaze reaches a thin, pourable consistency.
  3. Store the glaze in a covered container until ready to use.

Conclusion: In conclusion, glazing and firing are the final steps in the pottery-making process, and they can greatly affect the final outcome of your pieces. With a solid understanding of the different types of glaze, how to apply them, and the firing process, you'll be able to create beautiful, functional pieces that you'll be proud to display and use.

Assignment 1: Practice Glazing The goal of this assignment is to gain experience in applying glaze to your pieces. Start by selecting a variety of bisque-fired pieces that you have made and clean them to remove any dust or debris. Then, choose one or more types of glaze and experiment with applying them to your pieces.

To apply the glaze, you can use a brush, sponge, or other tool. Start by mixing the glaze according to the manufacturer's instructions, and then apply a thin, even layer to each piece. Pay attention to the thickness of the glaze and how it drips or runs. You can also try different brush strokes to create different effects on the surface of your pieces.

After you have applied the glaze, let the pieces dry completely before firing them. When you are satisfied with the results, fire the pieces in your kiln according to the recommended firing conditions for the glaze you used.

Assignment 2: Experiment with Firing Conditions The goal of this assignment is to gain experience in firing and to understand how different firing conditions can affect the final outcome of your pieces. Start by selecting a series of glazed pieces that you have made and firing them in your kiln under different conditions.

For example, you could fire one series of pieces at a low temperature (around cone 04), another series at a medium temperature (around cone 6), and another series at a high temperature (around cone 10). You could also experiment with different firing atmospheres, such as oxidation, reduction, or neutral.

When the pieces are finished firing, examine them carefully and take note of any differences in color, surface texture, and overall appearance. Compare the results to the glaze samples and try to understand why the pieces look the way they do.

Assignment 3: Create Your Own Glaze Recipe The goal of this assignment is to develop your own unique glaze recipe and to gain a deeper understanding of how glaze ingredients interact with each other. Start by researching different types of glaze recipes and gather all of the ingredients you will need.

Begin by mixing small amounts of each ingredient and observing how they interact with each other. Try different ratios of ingredients and take note of the resulting color, texture, and other properties of the glaze.

As you work, be sure to record the ingredients and proportions you use, as well as any observations or notes about the results. Over time, you may be able to develop a glaze recipe that you are happy with, and that you can use for your own pieces.

Remember, the process of creating a glaze recipe is a long-term project, and it may take many iterations before you find a recipe that you are happy with. The key is to be patient and persistent, and to enjoy the process of discovery and experimentation.





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