Black River Commission: Prepping for Glaze

It is time to glaze and get the kiln firing for the final stage of the Black River commission.  This picture to the left shows the logo stamp filled in and highlighted in iron oxide.  This part of the pot will stay bare and the black glaze will border this logo like a frame.  This phase of the process is very important for the quality of the final look, so there is no need to rush!

The actual applying of glaze is easy.  I literally dunk it in a bucket of liquid glaze.  The pot gets evenly coated in the glaze, the excess runs off the pot, foot cleaned up and then it sits on the shelf to dry for a minute before it is ready for the kiln.  Simple right?  Well, it is the prep-work that needs more care so that glazing can be that easy (especially for this kind of order). Here’s my brief rundown of my process:

 

Mixing the iron oxide

 

In order to make the logo on the pot really “pop”, I stained the impression using red iron oxide.  My first step was to mix the stain simply using a small amount of iron oxide and water.  I tested the consistency of this on a broken piece of clay.  Once satisfied with it, I was ready to go.  This stuff is awesome for stamps like this.  The stain fills any marks and crevasses so when wiped clean the detail can be easily seen like the logo in the first picture.

 

My "little" fans

As always, no day in the studio would be complete without my adorable little fans:  the Bartell children.  Steven, Magda and Asher were playing on the other side of the stairs and periodically climbed the stairs to look over and check out my progress.  They are too cute!  I love hearing their little voices playing and pretending on the other side of the basement!  It is much welcomed company!  Plus, who wouldn’t love to have the kind of support that children can offer; where everything you do is great!

 

Staining with iron oxide

 

Back to work.  Using a paint brush I painted over the logo with the iron oxide in a square patch.  It goes on very dark and the stamp is quite hard to see (but that is just the first step).  When all thirty pots were stained, I then wiped away the excess iron oxide using a wet sponge.  The pot itself will keep a stained look, but that is ok because the glaze will cover that.  Wiping away the excess reveals the logo in a rich contrast.

 

Iron oxide stained and wiped away

 

The next step before glazing is waxing.  I like to use hot wax the best rather than cold liquid wax for pottery.  It gives better control for detail and is much faster to apply to the foot of pots.  I literally melt non-scented, white pillar candles (or wax blocks to make candles from) in an electric skillet.  Yes, a skillet like one you would cook in!  I actually went to Target to buy this skillet purposefully for wax!  It melts fast, which is nice.  Wax is super important when it comes to glazing.  Whatever you don’t want glazed, you wax.  The wax adheres to the pot so when you are ready to dip the pot in glaze, the glaze sticks to everything but the wax!  Then, when it fires in the kiln, the wax burns off the pot without the glaze running over those portions, leaving that area free of glaze.  It is a pretty fascinating process!

The foot of the pot was the easiest to wax.  I simply placed the pot in the skillet and let the wax coat the base of the pot.  To wax the logo stamp, I used a paintbrush and painted the wax over the stamp in a block.  I did wait one day to do that so the pot could dry after the iron oxide was wiped clean.  Now they are ready to hit the glazing bucket and then the kiln!

 

Waxing the foot in the skillet

 

 

 

 

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  • your process is so interesting! thanks for sharing. I love the iron oxide.ReplyCancel

  • your process is so interesting! thanks for sharing. I love the iron oxide.ReplyCancel

  • Analee Kirner

    Those look so amazing!ReplyCancel

  • Analee Kirner

    Those look so amazing!ReplyCancel

  • Michele Prince

    You’ve worked so hard at building your business! I’m so proud of you.
    XO~MomReplyCancel

  • Michele Prince

    You’ve worked so hard at building your business! I’m so proud of you.
    XO~MomReplyCancel

  • Andrew

    those are some great photos you have there 😉 i liked watching the wax melt. 😀 it’s fun to see you work!ReplyCancel

  • Andrew

    those are some great photos you have there 😉 i liked watching the wax melt. 😀 it’s fun to see you work!ReplyCancel

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