[Clayart] just wondering. bad glaze problems

mel jacobson melpots at mail.com
Mon Nov 7 23:10:46 UTC 2022

Over my life time I have always tried to avoid trouble.
Example:  Got a kid in 3rd period that is driving me and the
other kids nuts.  Naughty boy.  It takes me about a week to
decide what to do.  CONFRONTATION. Either the kid shapes up
and becomes a part of the program or the kid is gone. I always
stood my ground. (I know a lot of teachers that will now tell
you the kid wins..teacher is out. And, why did I leave teaching
at 55? That is how I solved that problem.)

Bad glaze, spits, leaves marks on the shelf. Glaze is out.  Gone.
Never to return.  I will not mess even a day with a bad glaze.
There are now thousands of fine base glazes anyone can find and use.
Why bother?

Here are some examples.  As a teacher of clay with well over 150 kids
a day in the studio I found a perfect glaze.  60/40, Gertsley and Volcanic
ash (xer/pax to taste. 60 lbs and 40 lbs was size of the their bags..
 Fired to about cone 5-6. Saved my kilns.
It was the only glaze we had. 50 gallon drum full.  Six buckets of 5 gallons
that I just dumped in randomly oxides for color. It was a base.  Make what you want if you
don't like the buckets. Kids made their own buckets of glaze.  And without question
the concept of using volcanic ash taught them about glass making...Naturally.

I now use only one glaze here at the farm. 5/20. cone 7 gas reduction, or oxy.
Every pot fires to completion. Nothing (or very few) are thrown out.  The glaze
works, no problems.  The pots are as lovely as I have ever made over 65 years.
My life is easy in the studio...But, it is my studio. I control everything.
Bad clay, made my own Mel6, Good glaze base from Ron Roy.  All I needed.
I live alone, and love my new studio. Colleen runs the Minnetonka studio.
She too is happy. She has standards.

Back in the 60's Rhodes 32 was my base. White, blue/green/tan/ dark brown.
I sold thousands of dollars of pots with that base glaze. My studio, my choice.

I did shino for 8 years.

Anyone that teaches in an art center or community pottery will drive themselves into
insanity with 30 different glazes, fired to one temp, in one kiln. You might as well
hit your face with a brick.  "Mel, can we have a pink glaze, cone 2???? I need it
for Valentines Day.  HELL NO"!  Every studio from the `old lady` living alone working
behind her water heater in the basement, to a college program with advanced learning.
It all applies. Simplicity and ease of production makes life very nice.
trying to fire Shino, Temmoku, gloss glazes and matt, and then throw in twenty
Porcelain pieces with Ming Gloss. And then of course fire to cone 9 just moving.
Oh, and a good idea, make a holster for a hammer, wear it when you unload the kiln
to break pots that are awful.

A mature woman, working alone can have the best pots possible is she sets standards
of clay, glaze, and firing technique. I know many of them and they are gems.

If you want to be a chemist potter like Marion, or the Woofster, have at it. But solve
your problems and create standards for others to follow.  If you hand build, learn to
connect slabs and coils that are faultless. That becomes your standard. What kind of clay
work you do is not important...understanding ways of working that make you happy is
critical.  Oh, and just for fun, think of Mr. Hamada, the great Japanese potter. He had
a Ph.D. in chemistry. He made nice glazes..."wonder why". ???

website: www.melpots.com

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