Mixing a new glaze: Nickel Oxide

I have used a lot more chemistry than I ever thought I would in life, but I use it quite a bit in my business as a potter.  I mix all of my own glazes, so I am constantly having to evaluate the composition of my glaze and make adjustments if needed after each new batch has been made.  My core glazes are usually spot on:  cobalt, copper green, rutile, ivory.  They have become pretty consistent due to the fact that I have worked with them so much and have made the adjustments needed to have them look they way they do during a firing.  I will say they have come a long way since I first began crystalline glazing a few years ago.  They looked pretty awful when I first began.

Wanting to expand my color palate, I have been working on and developing a new glaze.  I am working with a new element as a colorant:  Nickel Oxide.  I have had to read up on the properties of this element and study the effects of this substance when combined with my base glaze elements of Ferro Frit, Zinc Oxide, Silica, and Kaolin.  The goal is to create a glaze, using the Nickel Oxide, that will give me turquoise crystals against a marigold/amber yellow background.  I think it could look really beautiful once I can develop the glaze correctly.  Here are the results to my first batch of the Nickel glaze.

Candle Pot in Nickel Oxide

Ok, so I have some work to do on this glaze.  I used 2% nickel oxide in this glaze and it is close to performing, but needs some tweaking.  The turquoise is definitely there and the deep yellow is trying to make an appearance, but I want those colors to be bold!  I can also tell that this batch of glaze is not thick enough.  I think I added a little too much water to the mix.  I can tell because when a crystalline glaze vitrifies in the kiln (turns to glass), it has a very glossy finish.  Only portions of this glaze became glossy and saturated in color.  Because this is a running glaze, the application needs to be thick.

Nickel Oxide in bowl

The bowl definitely shows the potential of this glaze better than the candle pot.  Around the rim, the amber tones are stronger and there are nice turquoise crystals forming in the bottom of the bowl.  The glaze is close.  I am excited to work on this glaze and perfect it.  Once I do, I will probably have another giveaway to help promote the new glaze, so don’t miss out!  The outside of this bowl is glazed in a new black glaze I have recently worked on as well.  I really like the way it turned out.  Since it passed the test firing, I am going to start using it!  I also used a new element in this non-crystalline glaze:  Chrome Oxide.

Non-crystalline black glaze

I do have to be careful when I am mixing these two new glazes.  Both the nickel and chrome oxides are toxic.  I wear rubber gloves and a respiratory mask the whole time to avoid those fumes.

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  • Michele Prince

    This is great. I love to see you continue to learn, explore and experiment, especially because I know how much you hated chemistry! But look at you now. You could be the “poster child” for the “I Hate High School Chemistry Club.”

    The bowl is already beautiful. When you perfect it, it’s going to be smashing! Congratulations!ReplyCancel

  • Michele Prince

    This is great. I love to see you continue to learn, explore and experiment, especially because I know how much you hated chemistry! But look at you now. You could be the “poster child” for the “I Hate High School Chemistry Club.”

    The bowl is already beautiful. When you perfect it, it’s going to be smashing! Congratulations!ReplyCancel

  • Andrew

    That bowl looks so good – inside and out! While the candle pot may not have turned out quite the way you wanted, this bowl is proof that great results are near with this new glaze! I can’t wait to see more 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Andrew

    That bowl looks so good – inside and out! While the candle pot may not have turned out quite the way you wanted, this bowl is proof that great results are near with this new glaze! I can’t wait to see more 🙂ReplyCancel

  • I am so excited for your new glaze! It’s going to be amazing!ReplyCancel

  • I am so excited for your new glaze! It’s going to be amazing!ReplyCancel

  • Mom V.

    I love these new colors! Glad you are being careful with the toxic fumes!

    Love you.ReplyCancel

  • Mom V.

    I love these new colors! Glad you are being careful with the toxic fumes!

    Love you.ReplyCancel

  • WOW Arryn, love the update on the development of the new glaze! I enjoy reading your blog more and more every day (I feel smart after reading, you with all your chemistry lingo!) and I’m just so excited for you. I know you will perfect the glaze soon.ReplyCancel

  • WOW Arryn, love the update on the development of the new glaze! I enjoy reading your blog more and more every day (I feel smart after reading, you with all your chemistry lingo!) and I’m just so excited for you. I know you will perfect the glaze soon.ReplyCancel

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