[Clayart] glazing questions/

mel jacobson melpots at mail.com
Sat Oct 9 12:28:01 UTC 2021

I have had several folks email me with questions about precision glazing. Japanese technique.

Two basic things are- a good clock with a big second hand, and dippers for the glaze bucket.

In kyoto we used a big old electric clock with the hour and minute hand cut off.
you counted the seconds the glaze was in the bucket, or seconds an open pot was full of glaze.
in most cases 10 seconds was max. of course we tested the water content, or thickness of all glazes.

A dipper was in each bucket. about a cup of glaze. I use old broom handles and measuring cups from
the dollar store.  I gorilla glue them and then wrap with duct tape.   The dipper is a perfect stirring
tool before you use the glaze each time.  for example...you fill a large mug with white glaze, count
to six seconds, pour it out. every mug gets the same timing. next you stir again, hold the mug upside down
and push into the colored glaze. six seconds...pull out and rotate the mug so the drop of glaze goes around
the rim one time. (in japan we used about 90 percent white glaze so it was very easy...just stir, fill and
pour and rotate. Timing was always the same.

If you layer glazes, develop a timing for each dip.  So, base glaze 4 seconds, 2 second dip in glaze 2 and
1 second in glaze 3.  As time goes on, you learn the seconds that each glaze is in the bucket.

So, in my case I am much more casual as I have been glazing for 60 years. I can stick my finger in a
glaze and say to self...`2 cups of water`. I know shino is in the bucket for 6 seconds. it is a thick glaze.

I only use gum in one glaze. that gets 2 seconds extra, as it not the glaze that is thick, it is the gum.

So, for my white glaze I use a two cup plastic measuring cup with a nice sharp spout. no drips.

Between Tonka and Farm I must have about 50 dippers of various sizes. Some glazes are only decorative so
I use a quarter cup measure.

I do not use very much hot wax on my pot bottoms. Don't need it. My foot rings fit my fingers.  my faceted
mugs have nice angles to grab for dipping. I am conscious of glazing when cutting foot rings. I never make
`pseudopod rings`...false feet. I test the grab for glazing.

If I have dozens of one type of pot, I sit and have the buckets between my legs...glaze and place on boards
on the table next to me. Standing for hours glazing is a big pain.  I find ways to sit.

I start each glaze sessions by cleaning up tables and floor. I use an electric drill motor with a good
paint mixing tool. I keep it in the buckets for minutes to get all the materials mixed. Then the dipper
can just pick up the sunken thick glaze and bring it to the top.  Don't glaze your pots with colored water,
the good stuff is on the bottom. A great deal of glaze drops to the bottom in ten minutes.  The most important
issue is the dipper always stirring the glaze before you dip.  It does become automatic.  And, the dollar store
has all kinds of measuring cups with handles. They work well. Of course here we have about a thousand scrap wood
handles in our wood shop.  You can always go to the big box store and get dowel rod. (have you checked prices? a sheet
of 3/4 inch plywood. $85.)  But, we always save the handles on old brooms and such.
So, some thoughts,

website: www.melpots.com

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