To date I have been using either commercial brush on glazes mainly Mayco or Amaco brand, or the glazes already mixed in the ceramics department. I knew I needed to have a go at making my own, it made sense for lots of reasons and I also know it’s an important step in my learning and development as a ceramic artist.
Making glazes has always felt quite daunting to me, but having gone through the process of actually making a base glaze and adding different colourants, I realised how much it could teach me about understanding what the different materials involved in ceramics do. I referred back to what we had been taught in the glaze session, and had forgotten about how much maths was involved in getting the right mixture of ingredients. I have noted in my Blue Glaze note Book the recipe I used a simple white base glaze by Linda Bloomfield, then I added different oxides in varying percentages.
I have added some images of the glaze test just for reference, it’s fair to say some worked better than others, some were boring and some just very lacking in character and interest. I did layer a couple together to see what would happen as well. I need to repeat the ones I liked and look more consistency in how they are applied in order to try and establish a body of glazes I can use in my work. Still lots to learn and a long way to go but I really enjoyed the process and even managed to operate the triple beam balance scales too!
As I had experienced problems with Black Clay body and glaze I thought it would be a good idea to test the glazes with black clay to see how they reacted, I also had applied white slip to one side of the black clay testers so I could get a sense of what the colour would look like when the Manganese in the black clay wasn’t dominating the reaction to the glaze.
I am part of a group of artists all working out of the same creative space each have our own studio spaces but we do collaborate for shows and open studio events. Before deciding to enrol on the MA I had already committed to being in a group exhibition titled “Visions of Landscape”, it’s an exhibition we had started to develop in early 2022 after lockdown and had already had one smaller scale but relatively successful show. Long story short, we booked a more ambitious large scale exhibition space at The Storey Gallery in Lancaster and agreed a date for a two week exhibition in April 2023 and committed ourselves financially and collaboratively to the planned event.
What I learned and what went well
I will try and keep this brief as there is a lot to cover so will do it as bullet points
Reflections on this show and my practice.
I had lots of thoughts about being part of this show, before, during and after it happened so I will try and summarise these here.
Below are images taken of the exhibition showing the range of work being exhibited, these images include work by other artists.
This is the link to the Higherford Mill Artists Page which shows posts and development of the exhibition
I took slabs of terracotta earthenware claybody in a wheeled cart along Pendle Water towards the water meetings near my home and studio. I wanted to capture the beautiful textures of different tree barks, roots and any other tree related textures that took my fancy.
This was a lovely way to capture natural texture, it was wonderful to be outside in the landscape working with clay. It’s a really simple process but the effects are really beautiful, interesting and inspirational. I need to repeat the experiment using a lighter stone ware clay to create texture plates that can be used to develop more textures/stamps/sprigs etc. as the bisque fired terracotta was quite fragile and shed clay crumbs onto the soft clay when it was pressed into the terracotta plate.
Here are some images of me capturing the texture from trees with the clay.
As I plan to repeat this experiment again, I chose to apply copper oxide and a clear glaze on these texture plates as I thought they could look interesting if they were hung together as a group on a wall or board. Below are some images of these pieces.