The Challenges of Glazing…

glazed

Last year I did a pottery throwing course and it was great fun!

I finished glazing all my pots before Christmas – but held this blog back until now because one of the pots was a Christmas gift and didn’t want to spoil the surprise (although I’m pretty sure my brother doesn’t read my blog – Daniel?).

I decided to save glazing the mug for Daniel until last and experiment on the other pots first. Some worked out better than expected and some look a bit messy/dribbly – not bad for a first try!

glazed2

I chose my favourite glaze from these pots and used that one for Daniel’s Christmas mug. Glazes are rather disconcerting because they’re a completely different colour before being fired. Despite being brown pre-firing, the one I chose for the mug had come out a really nice duck-egg colour on  my other pot.

mug_glazed_pre-firing

The bucket for this glaze said ‘apply thickly’ so I double dipped it! However – I was warned that if I applied it too thickly it might melt down and stick to the shelf in the kiln, thus ruining Daniels mug and the kiln shelf. So I was a bit cautious and as a result it’s rather patchy – some areas went a weird brown where the glaze was thinner and a lovely duck-egg blue where it was thicker.

I was a bit disappointed that it didn’t turn out to plan – but it looks sort of earthy and Daniel loved it (or pretended to!). I also got some nice coffee and made amaretti biscuits to go with the mug from this recipe – which went down a storm!

There are so many unknown elements and things you can’t control with pottery. The slightest wobble on the wheel and you lose the pot. You can make the perfect pot and then it flops taking it off the wheel or collapses in on itself whilst drying. It might explode in the kiln! After glazing, it could stick to the shelf and be ruined – or just crack. The glaze might be completely different to what you had in mind and you might just not like it. If your pot survives all of that – you could just drop it on a hard floor. For someone like me who loves to be in control and have a plan – pottery is difficult!

As an adult it’s quite rare to make yourself do something you can’t do at all – and it’s not easy to let go of your self-expectations and just enjoy the process. At the beginning of the course I had a list of things I wanted to make and got a bit frustrated. When I didn’t produce anything in the first week I felt like a failure – but really it was all part of the learning process. When I decided to just ‘play’ and not worry about the end result, I became a lot more relaxed and started to enjoy it. I’m glad I stuck with it and I’m quite proud of my little collection of pots!

Do you have any new challenges for yourself this year?

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