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glaze analysis course with ron roy

updated mon 30 sep 96


Anne McFadden on sun 22 sep 96

Glaze Analysis with Ron Roy

This summer, I signed up for a week long course on Cone 6 Oxidation
Glaze Analysis with Ron Roy. When I told a few close potter friends
about it, they amazingly had the same reaction: the colour drained
from their faces, they gulped, and said "Oh, yes... It'll be good for
you!" You can imagine what sort of thoughts crossed my mind! I was
beginning to have reservations.
Despite this, I found Ron's course to be superb. His
straightforward and methodical approach made the subject matter easy
to follow and understand. Everyone in the class recieved a
compilation of handouts Ron had assembled to assist us in the
glaze analysis process, to identify glaze faults, and to compliment
his classroom presentation; it was very clear, well organized, and
helpful. I understand that this group of handouts is a
precursor to a book Ron is putting together on the subject of glazes.
Another benefit of Ron's course, is that he uses the Insight
glaze analysis program to teach the calculation process. He brings
pottery into the 20th century! ;) Insight basically works like a claculator
.... you plug in the amount of each glaze material you want and presto -
all the calculations are done for you... quick and easy! Its a real time
saver compared to the old long-hand method of calculating. I have
been told that, using the old method, it can take about a day to do
the calculation for one glaze, and then you have to think "did I add
all the figures correctly.. have I displaced a I sure of
my multiplication...". I can see how a lot of people could easily get
discouraged. With Insight, however, it was averaging us about an
hour or less to run through a glaze recipe and make modifications. (I
don't know about you, but I'd rather be making pots than adding up
figures) I found this to be especially valuable in that it meant we
could spend more time learning about and doing analysis. Most, if
not all of us, including those with little or no computer experience,
were using the program to make and improve glazes well before the
end of the course. Not bad! After calculating and reformulating our
recipes, we proceeded into the studio where Ron methodically showed
us how to mix our glazes, fire them, and inspect the results.
I came away from the course feeling exhilirated and empowered. I
was on a high. I have been able to reformulate and fix (on my own)
a couple of the more problematic glazes I have and am presently working
on developing my own original glaze.
I highly recommend Ron Roy's glaze analysis course. If you have
the opportunity to take it and benefit from Ron's vast wealth of
knowledge, don't pass it up. It really is an excellent course and Ron's
a great teacher. :)

Anne McFadden EMAIL:
Beeton, Ontario, Canada