|Monthly Tech-Tip |
Maybe you don't think it is necessary to know anything about glaze chemistry to be a potter. Or a technician at a production facility. This thinking depends on how much mystery you mind tolerating. Because the reason for many of the problems you will encounter with glazes relates fundamentally to their chemistry. Perhaps you have other "social" actors in your sphere who also specialize in the "know as little technical stuff as possible" mindset. Who treat glazes like acrylic paint that comes in tubes - it is just color! From these people you will get buying advice on expensive jars of tacky-looking "goop" that you have to laboriously paint on in layers. Or it will mean you'll be more likely to get trapped on the recipe treadmill (addiction to the traffic of recipes that never seem to work). Maybe it is for the best, if ceramics is that hard then maybe you could take up quilting instead! They don't need to worry about chemistry!
Glaze chemistry is the study of how the oxide chemistry of glazes relates to the way they fire. It accounts for color, surface, hardness, texturem, melting temperature, thermal expansion, etc.
Fluxes are the reason we can fire clay bodies and glazes in common kilns, they make glazes melt and bodies vitrify at lower temperatures.
Trafficking in Glaze Recipes
The trade is glaze recipes has spawned generations of potters going up blind alleys trying recipes that don't work and living with ones that are much more trouble than they are worth. It is time to leave this behind and take control.