In fine fettle


The last couple of days have been spent glazing and fettling my latest breakfast cups, small jugs and large dishes ready for Bertha’s first glaze firing. I’ve been trying out a number of techniques after receiving some really helpful comments and tips. My favourite approach so far was suggested by David Melville

Fill the inside of the pot with glaze then straight away turn upside down and empty. With the pot still upturned immediately glaze the rim a little way down the outside. Leave overnight to dry. The following day dip the outside, with the pot the right way up and your hand/s pressed against the inside. Slightly overlap the earlier glazed rim. For me this seems to be cleaner than using tongs, with the least amount of drips that need to be cleaned up. Also by dipping the lip whilst the pot is still wet from glazing the inside only a thin layer adheres to the outside. Hopefully this will stop the thick glazed rims that I’ve been having problems with in the past.

I’ve just switched on the kiln so I’ll find out late tomorrow, or Thursday morning, how things have fared. I’ll post some pictures of the results.



Fettle down


Last week I threw twenty-two pots to a throwing gauge in an attempt to improve my repeat throwing. I’m fairly pleased with the results. There is still some variance in diameter and height, but they are much more similar than previous attempts. I’ve spent the rest of the week turning the bases and applying slip and sgraffito designs. They were biscuit fired on Saturday and today I’ve been glazing and fettling.

Fettling (for non potters) is when you tidy up your pots. This could be when you trim the base of a thrown pot; clean up rough edges from casting a pot; or in this case tidy up any drips, marks and pin holes following dipping the pots into glaze.

I’d welcome any tips on how best to glaze… I’ve tried both dipping pots by hand and with tongs. When I hand dip I’ve been doing it in two phases. First I pour glaze inside, let it dry and then dip the outside (upside down). The problem I have here is that, however careful I am, the rim area has double the amount of glaze that it should (from overlap) and therefore loses some of its fineness after firing. With tongs I find that although I get a generally even coat, I get nasty drips and holes that need much more dusty and time consuming fettling. Many thanks in advance.

If at first you don’t succeed…

fire2.1  fire2.3

The next batch of items are in the kiln ready for my second ever glaze firing tomorrow. This includes the cups that I threw a few weeks ago. I’ve been doing a lot of research on how to slow down the cooling part of the cycle in the hope that I don’t end up with the same result as last time. I have also bought a handheld pyrometer and probe so that I can gauge more accurately the speed at which the kiln is heating and cooling.

If all goes well I will post the results and the firing schedule I have used on Monday.

Fire when ready

So, the bisque firing went ok… no explosions. Now on to the glaze firing.

drying clay  bowl wash  kiln wash  glazing3  glazebucket  glazing1

Todays tasks were:
– put out clay scraps for drying ready to make paper joining slip (recipe from Martha Grover)
– make kiln wash
– kiln wash shelves
– sieve and mix transparent glaze
– glaze pieces
– put pieces in the kiln ready to fire tomorrow morning.