When I first started working with ceramics, the part I liked least of all was glazing. It was just so confusing how the un-fired colors looked so different from the fired ones. It was difficult to keep track of what glaze should go where since the colors gave no clues. So here’s what I did, and I find that it helps quite a bit.
Every time I got a new glaze, I made a little color chip. You can see these color chips sitting on the lids of the glaze jars. The chips are just 1 1/2″ rounds. On each chip, I use alphabet stamps on the wet clay to impress the name of the glaze, plus an initial for the manufacturer and line of glazes (for example, “M” for Mayco and “E” for Elements). So the chip in this example would say M E Tidal Pool. I also impressed two coil designs with coiled copper wire. The printing and coil impressions then show me how the glaze will “break” over surface texture.
I keep all my color chips in a little box and when I’m ready to glaze something, I get out the box of color chips and go through them to find the colors I want to use. Then I get out the jars of the selected glazes and lay the corresponding color chip on the tops of the jars. This gives me a good visual guide to the colors as I decorate my piece.
In the photo you see the little bear shaman with three layers of glaze. And when I post a photo of the fired piece tomorrow I think you’ll be surprised – unless you’ve worked with glazes before – how different the piece looks!