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simple glaze tutorial -- ian currie workshop

updated wed 10 apr 02


Dave Finkelnburg on tue 9 apr 02

Ah Brian,
So you want "a
>rather simplified book about ...this
>glaze composition process."
Methinks thou seekest the holy grail of pottery! :-)
There are three ways you can do what you want. One is to learn the
Seger formula approach. The second is to study the work of Ian Currie. The
third, which I prefer, is to do both.
For information on Ian's method, check out his website at or see either of his books. "Stoneware Glazes..." and
"Revealing Glazes..." Basically, he takes some proportion of fluxes, adds
clay and silica in amounts that vary in a consistent, intelligent manner,
glazes a test tile with some of each mixture, fires the tile and compares
the results. Currie emphasizes three things--how fluxes affect the
colorants and glaze, how alumina and silica affect the glaze, and how the
claybody and glaze interact. His method is especially superior, in my
opinion, when working with local materials for which you have no analysis.
Many have tried to explain Herman Seger's pioneering work. Few do it
well. I worked through Daniel Rhodes' "Clay and Glazes for the Potter," at
least the section on calculating Seger formulas, until I understand the
subject. I think it's a great book! Basic chemistry study isn't required,
but makes the subject easier. Putting a glaze recipe into Seger format can
reveal quite a bit about a particular recipe without ever having to fire the
glaze. That can tell you whether you even want to spend time testing a
particular recipe.
Since you already mix your own glazes, you are well on the road! Either
or both of the above approaches, diligently pursued, will take you far.
Good glazing!
Dave Finkelnburg