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First challenge - Cone 5-6 mid-fire glazes

For me, glazing is often the most challenging, most complicated, and where many of my pots go from being exciting new work to complete failures and "shard pile" contributions. The anticipation I feel while opening a kiln, after a glaze firing, is about as high as the anticipation I felt on Christmas morning when I was five years old. Just like unwrapping one present at a time, you get to unload the kiln one shelf at a time. Each shelf has it's own set of treasures and, unlike Christmas, also contains some ship wrecks. To help increase my success rate I've found I must be thinking of the glaze during the entire process. I need to know how the glaze will respond to the clay body, the shape of my piece, the textures I create, and how the atmosphere in the kiln will affect the glaze color and surface.

This presents a significant challenge for me in a new studio where I have no working knowledge of the available glazes. About all I can do right now is dive in, explore the possibilities, and keep a journal. Eventually I will start to develop an intuition for the glazes and how they will interact with my pieces. Then I will be able to put the forms and glazes together in a way that makes them dance in such a way you don't see the form and the glaze. You see, and feel, one piece.

I won't lie, I did not look forward to starting this process. I knew any pots I started with would be sacrifices. I had to let them go and hope they'd come back from the kiln with little gems of knowledge into how these glazes behave. I knew not to expect any to come out as gems themselves and I was right. Good news is they did come back with a lot of information.

My next post will be pictures of pieces from my first firing. Just be warned, some are "not good". I'm going to journal what I think works, what does not work, and what I think would work on a different shape. This type of analysis (or critique) is how I can build my working knowledge and intuition of cone 5-6 (mid-fire) electric glazes. Above is an image of The Complete Guide to Mid-Range Glazes by John Britt. Who better to learn from!