I Said I Would Renovate and I Did

Remember those bowls a few days ago that I told you I had decided to glaze? All right, they have all come from the kiln and I will show them to you.

I am reasonably happy with the results. Now, this look is not my first choice, but as you may also remember, I made bowls, and without glaze, they cannot really do their job as bowls. They need glaze to be food-safe. I have decided I want to sell them, and so, I glazed them.

If I don’t want to use glaze, I need to remember to make items that are non-functional. I may want to write that down.

All right. You remember the bowls in the stage of having had glaze applied but not fired:

I fired them at Cone 06, the recommended temperature for the glaze. I had applied the glaze in 2 thin coats – I have a tendency to overdo the glaze and that causes problems with pooling and clouding. After the first firing, some of them looked great but some had areas where more glaze was needed. I applied more to those bowls and put them through again. My goodness, what some of these poor bowls have gone through!

Now we are done. Let me show you the previous versions with the new versions:

As you can see, some bowls look very similar and others are greatly changed. I noticed that the bright orange color in a couple of bowls had been completely altered by the addition of the glaze. The overall color scheme in all of the items is darkened and fine details are less visible. Now, I am not very skilled or familiar with glazing, so I think with future items, I would need to think more about the colors I use and in what combinations.

And no matter what, I never like the shiny reflectiveness of glaze. My eyes just do not take in the details of a shiny item as well.

I will also show you the outside surface of a couple of bowls. As you might remember, I spatter painted over a color on the white clay bowls and I spatter painted over the natural color of the terracotta clay on the others. These photos show you the before:

Here is a bit of the after – and please excuse the blurriness – I hope you can get the idea:

I do like the look. I’ve done lots of spattering with glaze in the past and it has never failed me. I need to write this down, too – spattering is a pleasing look with glaze.

All right. That’s the end of the renovation. I will say these bowls do look better in person than in a photo. I think they will find new homes and go on to happy times. And they will do their jobs properly and safely. That is what is important, after all.

21 thoughts on “I Said I Would Renovate and I Did

  1. agnesashe

    I think the renovations are very successful. I agree there is a tiny loss in detail with the glazing, but overall there is a pulling together of the look of each one which I think makes the colours appear deeper and richer.

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. I think that if I do functional objects again (which I am sure I will, I don’t know why I say, if) I will pay more attention to the colors that work well and also how they look together with glaze. There is a chemical reaction with glaze and underglaze that is different with each color and that needs to be understood to get best results. This is something I haven’t put the time into understanding but now I’m kind of intrigued. In certain circumstances glaze is a positive and like anything else, can be used to its best look or it can really…fail. It’s up to me to learn and try!

      1. agnesashe

        Yes, I think the trick is to experiment and keep a photographic record of the outcomes. I am trying to do that with my layering process. It is a bit of a long drawn out affair, but made so much easier with digital photography. You want to get to the point where you just ‘know’ the combinations to pick to achieve the result you are looking for. Guess that’s what they call experience. 😊

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. I have learned (or reminded myself) that if I want to make something that should be glazed, I need to plan from the beginning, and pay attention to the differences it will make in the colors and composition.

  2. Chela's Colchas y Mas

    I can see the pros and cons of glazing. I think the renovations turned out beautifully. I have always thought of bowls as something more than a functional piece. I read Gunilla Norris’ book, Simple Ways. She says that “An empty bowl is a wonderful symbol of openness.”

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. I think of bowls the same way, more like sculptures, but if I am planning to sell them, I have learned, most people go right to the utilitarian definition and I can’t count on them using the bowl and it either doesn’t hold up or…never can get cleaned and food-safe. I started off in this project thinking sculpture but now they have to do a job, so the bowls must evolve. I think the challenge for me next time would be to combine the sculpture and usefulness and come out with a project that combines both and uses the strengths of underglaze and glaze. I am learning all the time!

        1. Claudia McGill Post author

          I enjoy doing it and I also really like it when others share their techniques. Makes me appreciate their art or craft or writing just that much more.

  3. memadtwo

    I like both alternatives. I don’t generally use bowls I consider decorative for food, but I can see the advantages, especially in selling. The splatter looks great glazed–I do like splatter pottery, but I’ve never seen any in such wonderful colors. I could see that on the inside too. (K)

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. I think the key for me is, knowing I’m going to use glaze when I start out as it will affect my color choices and design. I can’t be sure what a purchaser will do with what I sell them so I have to be conservative, but these bowls, yes, I’d never think to eat from them, but people will, I am sure. I love doing spatter glazing like that and it is very easy to do and to get a great effect. I will be remembering that – I used to use it a lot in the past but not in recent years.

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. I’m happy with how they turned out, given I didn’t mean to go this route in the beginning, so that I didn’t make the best use of all my options; but I haven’t done glazed work in so long and now that I think about it, I am not sure how far I had pushed myself with it, either – sticking with a more limited palette and so on. It’s kind of caught my curiosity to have done this – makes me want to try some more, but this time – with more awareness…

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