Underglaze and Glaze Combinations

Recently I’ve been interested in trying a new look for some of my clay tile work – using glazes and underglazes in the same piece.

As you may remember, I generally use Velvet underglazes to color my tiles and do not add a glaze level (glaze being the component that adds the glassy shiny surface to clay work). I like the matte finish as I feel it gives a deep rich look to the color without distracting reflections.

I’ve recently begun using glazes on some pieces because I wanted to make a surface food-safe or waterproof (think Potheads).

I’m dipping a toe into combining the two. My ideas are still limited but I am sure they will pick up steam. Here is a tiny tile from June 2019:

I used Velvet underglaze for the background color and dripped a glaze from Amaco called Teacher’s Palette on to the surface.

Glazes #1 6-191

I liked the effect and I used it in various ways on this group of small tiles from July 2019:

Clay tiles - collection of glazed-underglazed 7-193

You may remember seeing arrays of small tiles about 2″ square that I’ve made, like these. Note the matte surface.

clay tile 2 x 2 a 7-192


I tried the combination of underglaze/glaze on a couple of similar tiles (from July 2019). The backgrounds are glazed and the figures are underglazed. I don’t think the photos show the contrast as well as can be seen in real life, but it is an interesting difference. I’m going to try more of these as well as expand into other applications.

Clay tiles - 2x 2 glazed-underglazed 7-192

6 thoughts on “Underglaze and Glaze Combinations

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. I think it adds another level of visual interest to tiles and other objects. I think there is a lot that I could try with this idea, it will just have to evolve!

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. I have used glazes in the past and not very successfully. I am hoping to take it one step at a time and do better – I’m also taking a clay class this fall in which I hope to learn more about this topic. I like the shiny v. matte look and I think there is so much that would be fun to try out with it.

      1. Laura (PA Pict)

        It definitely adds another dimension to your work, that contrast. I’m glad you are taking the opportunity to explore it further and I look forward to seeing the developments and outcomes.

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