Glaze Tests, Lino-Cut Update and EZ Screen Print

Cone 6 Glaze Test before firing

Cone 6 glaze test before firing – looks nothing like the fired color

Cone 6 Glaze tests after firing
Cone 6 glaze tests after glaze firing to 2230° F

Working at the ceramic studio at the Art Student’s League of Denver allowed me extensive use of their bucket and commercial glazes which was fabulous. I had a great deal of options available to me. Now that I am going to be working from my home studio, I am faced with the daunting task of making my own glazes or purchasing commercial glazes. Stocking and furnishing my studio has proved to be expensive and I have a wish list a mile long. I knew it would be like this in the beginning so I make do where I can. I have the basics and it’s amazing how many common every day things can substitute for the “real” equipment.

For example, I’d like a slab roller but a good one cost $1,000+. So, I use a humble rolling pin, 2 wooden slats as guides to get an even thickness and regular old canvas. It works but not with the same ease as a slab roller. One of my first tasks is deciding which glazes I want to use in my studio. For functional ware, it’s much more economical to make my own glazes. For the time being, I’ve decided on a clear, white, pale blue, blue/green and celadon. I, know they’re all related colorwise. I do think I could have some versatility with the clear and white by adding mason stains for the colorant.

I decided to make 3,000 gram batches of each glaze for my studio to start. I already know that this isn’t enough. I made these in 5 gallon buckets – and initially added too much water to the raw materials when I made the glaze. I won’t be able to dip my work, but will have to brush on the glaze. I’m lazy in that regard and want to dip my work. I don’t mind brushing on the glaze, but it’s difficult to get an even application of glaze. So, I’ll most likely be making larger batches in the future. After making the glaze and then firing these test tiles, I decanted a lot of water from the buckets. They’re a-ok right now.

Relief print on clay of ginkgo leaf and dragonfly with underglaze before glaze firing

Dragonfly and Ginkgo Leaf relief prints on clay with underglaze – before glaze fire

I had a glaze fire in my mini Aim 88T Test Kiln yesterday and just peeked in the kiln this morning. I’m so pleased with the outcome of the firing and my new work! One of the items that went into the kiln were these little stoneware canvases above. I’ll share the glaze fired results in my next post. I brushed on black underglaze and then wiped off a good bit of that so that the black would sink into the recessed areas of the relief prints. Twitters about…

EZ Screen Print Kit

EZ Screenprint Kit arrived on Saturday

Last week, I ordered the EZ Screen Print Kit. On Saturday, the kit arrived in the mail and I’m excited to try it out. I think I’m going to start by screening underglaze onto a couple of test pieces and see how that works, because I still have to order the decal paper and the overglaze. Mile Hi Ceramics doesn’t carry overglazes, and Stone Leaf Pottery is closed on Mondays, so I might have to place an online order for someAmaco Water Based Versa Color Overglazes. This would be awesome if these worked because they’re water based vs. oil based and they’re lead free. China paint and overglaze traditionally include lead as an ingredient which would not make this type of work suitable for functional work – nor is lead something I want to expose myself to.

Meanwhile, today, I’m going to go to Meiningers or Jerry’s Art-O-rama to pick up some Lazertran to do some cold surface image transfers onto a glazed surface that is already prepared!

Have a good week everyone,
Cynthia Guajardo, ceramic artist in Denver Colorado

11 comments

  • Wonderful post Cynthia! I tell ya, I would love to spend a day working in your studio. I bet that would be loads of fun. Don’t feel alone about the slab roller. It’s such a shame that soo many things in art are expensive. Although, it is great when artist’s can use their imagination and use what they have to do almost the same thing. :) Keep it up!
    *HUGS*

  • I’m not sure, I understand the EZ screen print, but hope to as time goes by. It is fun to see all the neat stuff you’re making and deciding. Lots of decisions!

  • Thanks Angela – we could have lots of fun! Sometimes the experimenting is more fun than doing the production stuff!

    I’m not sure I understand it either Mary, but I’ll figure it out somehow….

  • I’ve been considering EzPrint for screen work as I really don’t want to mess around with the (toxic) stuff I used years ago.In my case, it would be fabric and/or paper, rather than ceramics, but I’ll be watching your progress.

  • July 10, 2007 at 2:00 pm //

    I’ve been away for awhile and am trying to catch up on your blog. You’ve been busy .. and once again your tech-y stuff makes me scratch my head. I’ll read up on it.

    Love seeing your glazes … beautiful colors, makes me want them all.

    Yikes……. I’d need to use a rolling pin for ever.

    I’ve really enjoyed catching up on your blog posts.

  • July 10, 2007 at 2:23 pm //

    I’ve never mixed my own glazes before. Your post inspires me to give it a try. I love your celadon glaze, is it cone 5/6? Can’t wait to see the results of your EZ screen print.

  • I think I’m going to try to make a screen plate today, Dinah – I think the other thing is that you can re-use if it doesn’t work out the first time around.

    Welcome back Nancy!

    The celadon is a cone 6, though it can go to a soft cone 7 when I soak it, Peppa. I can send you the recipe if you think you might like to make it.

  • I’m with Angela, I would also love to spend the day in your studio Cyn!! Fascinating and beautiful pieces are being made in there and I love the ginko leaf and dragonfly and can’t wait to see them after glaze firing! I don’t blame you for using a regular rolling pin instead of spending (eek) a thousand for the roller. I wonder how a marble rolling pin would work, I’ve seen them for sale before. The EZ screen print sounds wonderful too!