[Clayart] Re-firing

Joseph Herbert josephherbert827 at gmail.com
Sat Apr 30 01:55:08 UTC 2022


Hello.

Most of the requests for re-firing are for smaller pieces the (relatively
new) makers doesn’t like the look of. The re-fires usually fail because the
glaze slurries available are made to go on porous bisque ware. Trying to
put those on non-porous ware is tricky.

Refiring for decoration, as has been noted, is standard practice for the
dinnerware industry.  Bisque firing is the highest temperature, decorating
elements are applied sequentially, fired at lower temps, lusters are added
last and fired lowest of all. The glaze preparations used for this method
of decorating are NOT glaze powder in water in a bucket! The glaze powder
is in a different carrier suitable for the application technique. In the 18
places across the country where I have dabbled at pottery, none had any
sort of alternate glaze formulations available. When refiring, mention made
of putting glaze on hot ware, adding honey or syrup to watery glaze, never
heard of corn starch and heat (making glaze gravy).

The most famous refire story I know is the 1910 Scarab Vase of Adelaide
Robineau.

https://everson.org/object-of-the-week/object-of-the-week-adelaide-alsop-robineaus-scarab-vase/

As told above, she carved the design in 1000 hours and the piece came from
the kiln cracked. She filled the cracks with (I assume) ground fired
porcelain material and refired. It worked, see above.

With a half year invested in carving the piece, it is easy to see why she
would try that, and other things, probably, had that not worked.

I had a Pfaltzgraff saucer that seemed to show two additional firings for
glazing. It also showed stilt marks, which may be why I had it - a second.

Clearly, refiring can be done successfully. It’s a matter of materials,
techniques, and especially expectations.

An experienced worker would just throw two replacement pieces and go on.
The time is about the same.

Joe
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