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blazing glazing let down

December 4th, 2010 at 18:46

I got my pottery pieces back from glazing and am quite saddened by the results. All my pieces came back dark and burnt looking. How can that be? The person operating the kiln is not an expert and it might just be an error, is it possible it was too hot? Does anyone have some advice? If you do, please share your wisdom with me. I’m a little bit disappointed. It’s not too bad, at the end of the day this is still all very much in an experimental stage but I would like to know what happened just not to trip over the same hurdle twice. It’s a bit sore to stumble so close to the finish line.

Here some photos. I’m taking part in a ornament swap. I made little clay ornaments with footprints in them, I painted the footprints and a little bit around them and glazed them transparent I wanted them to be terracotta red. And they came back black. They are small about an inch x 3/4 inch. Needless to say I need to come up with something new for my swap and these are going into the bin.


The bowl and mugs were suppose to be glazed dark blue on the outside and an off white called oatmeal on the inside. But instead they came back a muddy gray and just burnt, dirty looking, not very inviting to drink out if, at least not according to J.

the bowl had a hawk print on the inside which has disappeared completely.

The mug, I’ve found a way to make good use of it, it looks fine from the outside and I needed something to hold my paint brushes.

The terracotta bowl glazed transparent with the fish painted in blue came back gray, purple. It’s ok but very different to what I had hoped.

The bowl that I coated with the blue slip retained the blue colour and this is possibly the best of all the pieces.


I also made a test piece ornament with the fish on it. The under glaze colours were all very old and quite dried out so this was a trial to see what’s possible with the paints.

I am wondering what to do next. I have a big bowl and a plate and I don’t want to have similar results with those, anybody got any advice? I will definitely do a whole lot of test pieces, tile like before I put anymore big/real pieces in the kiln.

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8 Responses to “blazing glazing let down”

  1. tammy vitale Says:

    Had you previously done test tiles? That looks like the iron in the terra cotta glaze reacted with something. I’m not a glaze expert by any stretch, but if you’d like to chat, email me at info@tammyvitale.com.

    Is the clay red or white? or some other color? (beige, etc)

    was the firing by computer/kiln sitter/witness cones?

    Do you know what else was fired and where the pieces were in the kiln (top, middle, bottom). Did they cool in the kiln or was the kiln opened to make it cool faster?

  2. Amy Says:

    yikes! i know nothing about pottery, sorry. good luck, like you said this is a learning experiment, but still…. your pretty pottery….

    Love the blue bowl with the swirls.

    Better luck next time I guess.

  3. anne Says:

    Wow! I really have no suggestions. I haven’t worked with clay and glazes for years (and was never anything of an expert on it at the time). I know glazes can give surprises, but how disappointing that your pieces turned out so different from what you wanted them to be. :(

    Hope the next ones turn out better!

  4. BarbaraB Says:

    I wish I could help. However, I LOVE the little ornament pieces. They aren’t what you hoped for in the way of ornaments, but I think you should keep them around rather than throwing them out. They’ll speak to you someday about how they want to be used (or who they want to be given to).

  5. forward tumble Says:

    I’d be very happy to give them away, I don’t think there will be any takers.

  6. forward tumble Says:

    Thanks for offering your help, Tammy.
    I’ll talk to the woman who operated the kiln and come back to you. I think chemical reaction is the most likely cause for the burnt effect on the mugs and bowl. The bowl that was covered with the slip from her clay (not mine) are the best pieces which makes me think, chemical reaction. I will definitely do a whole bunch of test tiles now.

  7. B @ Sweet Limes Says:

    How heartbreaking! Glad you found a great way to store your paintbrushes though, it looks great being used for that. And the feet, I still think they look darling. Still remind me of my eldest daughter who died leaving her little footprints on my heart.

  8. Evelyn Says:

    Sorry about your load. I’m with Tammy. Even if the kiln is fired to the correct temperature, some pieces could be overfired depending on where they were placed. Looks like almost all your pieces have unexpected results – most likely the firing that cause it rather than your application.

    Good luck.

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