Five Ways to Apply Glazes Successfully

You’ve created a beautiful piece of pottery. You’ve painstakingly hand built or thrown it, and perhaps carved an intricate design in it. Now all that’s left to do is glaze and fire it.

Glazing pottery can be accomplished in several ways. Here are the basics of each technique.

* Dipping – One of the simplest ways to glaze your pottery is to dip it. You simply put a medium-thick glaze into a container larger than the pottery and immerse your piece for a few seconds. This method is quick and easy, and it provides a nice, even coat. Another advantage of dipping is that it allows for the application of glaze to the outside of a pot and not the inside.

* Pouring – When glazing the interior of a piece of pottery, pouring is a common practice. Just like it sounds, it involves pouring glaze onto the pot. It is left there for a few seconds, then quickly poured back into the glaze container. The glaze used for this technique is of the same consistency as that used in dipping.

* Brushing – Glazes that are brushed on should be thicker than those for dipping or pouring. They are best applied with a synthetic sable brush. Brush marks should not be an issue, as glazes made to be applied with a brush are formulated to resist them.

* Sponging – Applying glaze with a sponge can produce a unique look. Fine-textured sponges make for a fairly uniform coating, while more porous sponges add character to the finished product.

* Spraying – Those who produce large quantities of pottery often prefer to spray on glazes. This may be done with a spray gun or an airbrush, and requires a fairly thin glaze. Spraying produces more safety hazards than other glazing methods, so it’s important to take the proper precautions. Spraying should be done in a spray booth with good ventilation, and the sprayer should always wear a respirator designed for such purposes.

No matter which method you use, it’s important to thoroughly clean your pot before you begin. You remove dust and debris with a damp sponge or stiff brush. Grease may be removed with a gentle dish detergent, but it must be rinsed off thoroughly before proceeding. All tools used to mix or hold the glaze should also be free of grease, dust and other debris.

Glazing is an important step in the creation of pottery. It seals the finished product, and it can add shine or color if so desired. It can even be used to create an interesting texture. Some potters use one method for all of their pottery, while others use different ones for different applications.

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