Learning Opportunities with Sue

Learn to Mix Glazes from Scratch

Learn how to mix your own glazes from scratch and do a “Colour Run” by testing a base glaze with multiple colourants in this online workshop.

Get instant access to the workshop when you sign up. $57-$77 USD.

Mastering Glaze Consistency

A 4-week, online program that will teach you the art and science of glaze application, increasing your confidence and giving you the knowledge you need to create consistent, repeatable glaze results.

Next Registration – Fall 2021

Do you wish your glaze results were more consistent?

Do you have these glaze challenges?

  • You don't know how much water to add to your glazes
  • You get different results every firing
  • Your glazes aren't turning out as expected
  • You can't seem to keep your glaze thickness consistent

Grab my FREE GUIDE

You'll start understanding your glaze results better when you measure specific gravity. It just takes a few simple steps to calculate the water content of your glazes and then it's easy to keep them consistent. No more guessing!

Consistent water content = consistent application thickness = consistent results.

Sue’s Ceramics Blog

Articles and videos about clay, glazes and studio tips, written by Sue McLeod

99 Cone 6 Glazes You Can Try

99 Cone 6 Glazes You Can Try

Have you been looking for new glazes to add to your glaze palette? If so, I have 99 different cone 6 glazes you can try. That probably sounds like a lot to look through, but it’s really just 9 base glaze recipes plus 10 colour variations each.

The Air Bubble Myth

The Air Bubble Myth

There’s a common belief in ceramics that leaving pockets of air in your clay, either due to insufficient wedging or by creating an enclosed form, leads to explosions in the kiln. The belief is often communicated in these ways: “Poorly wedged clay containing air bubbles will explode…”

What Glazes Can You Make with Limited Materials?

What Glazes Can You Make with Limited Materials?

When you start looking for glaze recipes and have a limited number of materials on hand, you may find that you have almost (but not quite) all the materials for a million glaze recipes, but you can’t find a recipe that only uses the materials you currently have.

12 Tips for Managing Glazes at a Busy Pottery Studio

12 Tips for Managing Glazes at a Busy Pottery Studio

Glaze Management 101. It’s a lot of work to run a school or community pottery studio. There are a lot of moving parts to look after. I’ve been a studio technician for 5 years now and it’s a very busy and rewarding job. As the technician, I’m taking care of all the behind the scenes…

How to Fix a Hard-Panned Glaze with Epsom Salts

How to Fix a Hard-Panned Glaze with Epsom Salts

Have you ever had a glaze settle into a rock hard layer on the bottom of your glaze bucket? It’s impossible to mix and even if you do get it mixed, it just settles out again. This annoying phenomenon is called “hard-panning” and it often happens to glazes that don’t have enough…

How the Water in Your Glaze is Affecting Your Results

How the Water in Your Glaze is Affecting Your Results

Does any of this sound familiar? You unload a piece from the kiln and the glaze turned out perfectly! So you glaze more pieces with the same glaze combination, fire them, and they turn out completely different… OR… You mix a small test batch of a glaze and LOVE how it looks…

A Week in the Life of a Ceramics Studio Technician

A Week in the Life of a Ceramics Studio Technician

What Does a Ceramics Studio Technician Do? Since 2015, I’ve been a ceramics studio technician at a community pottery studio. We run 14 classes per week for both adults and children. We also have an open studio drop-in program where 60 registered members can…

Getting Clarity with Clear Glazes

Getting Clarity with Clear Glazes

There’s nothing worse than a cloudy clear glaze muddying up your beautiful slip design, screen printed images or coloured clay. How can we make sure our clear glaze is always clear and prevent it from going cloudy? In this article, I’ll explain some of the factors that affect the…

What to Keep Track of in Your Glaze Journal

What to Keep Track of in Your Glaze Journal

How Magic Becomes Science. Have you ever unloaded a BEAUTIFUL piece from the kiln and thought, “Gee, I wish I could remember how I did that”? A big part of glaze testing and advancing your understanding of glazes is record keeping. Whether you’re dipping test tiles or…

Different Styles of Test Tiles You Can Make for Glaze Testing

Different Styles of Test Tiles You Can Make for Glaze Testing

The word “test tile” can refer to any shape of clay that’s used to test glazes, slips, underglazes, engobes etc. Test tiles can be any shape you wish and can be made in a variety of ways. In this post, I’ll share lots of different examples of ways you can…

15 Tips to Get Started with Glaze Testing

15 Tips to Get Started with Glaze Testing

I find ceramic glazes to be absolutely fascinating. I had no idea when I started working with clay that glazes would become the main focus of my life. Glazing was always an afterthought and I basically ruined most of my pieces by glazing them…

How to Calibrate Your Kiln Sitter for Accurate Firings

How to Calibrate Your Kiln Sitter for Accurate Firings

If you’re anything like me, then your first kiln wasn’t or isn’t going to be the digital programmable kind. Many of us start out with a manual kiln that we got second hand. I have 4 different sized kilns in my home studio and none of them are digital or programmable.

A Low Tech System for Recycling Clay Scraps

A Low Tech System for Recycling Clay Scraps

As clay artists, we’re so lucky that we can reduce the amount of waste we produce by reclaiming or recycling our unfired clay. When we make something that cracks, warps or doesn’t look how we wanted it to, we can reclaim our clay, bringing it back to its original state so…

How to Make a Good Kiln Wash to Protect Your Kiln Shelves

How to Make a Good Kiln Wash to Protect Your Kiln Shelves

Kiln wash is a material that you can paint onto your kiln shelves. It looks very similar to a glaze when being applied. It acts as a barrier to prevent unexpected glaze runs or drips from ruining your shelves. Kiln shelves are made of a hard material that is similar to…

Temperature vs Heatwork – Why We Use Witness Cones

Temperature vs Heatwork – Why We Use Witness Cones

I receive a lot of glaze questions and the first question I generally ask in return is “What did the cones look like?” Knowing whether the kiln was over- or under-fired is important for diagnosing many glaze issues. Sometimes I’m told a kiln temperature in response. But…

How to Add Bentonite to a Wet Glaze

How to Add Bentonite to a Wet Glaze

When I was in school and learning to mix my own glazes, I was warned: “Make sure you add bentonite to the DRY materials and mix them together BEFORE you add any water.” It was good advice. The reason for the warning is when bentonite gets wet it swells and gels and…

Are You Mixing Your Glazes Well Enough?

Are You Mixing Your Glazes Well Enough?

Glaze results on the thin side? As a studio technician at a busy pottery studio, it’s my job to mix and maintain 20 different studio glazes. I’m also the one studio users often go to for help when their glazes don’t work out as they had hoped. Every now and then…

Why I Don’t Use a Hydrometer to Measure Specific Gravity

Why I Don’t Use a Hydrometer to Measure Specific Gravity

I didn’t always know about measuring specific gravity. Of the 10 years that I’ve been mixing glazes, I’ve only been measuring specific gravity for 3 of them. It wasn’t a technique I learned in school. But… I had heard about it enough times that eventually I used it to try…

Why I Use a Graduated Cylinder for Measuring Specific Gravity

Why I Use a Graduated Cylinder for Measuring Specific Gravity

I use a graduated cylinder for measuring specific gravity. A slender container is going to have smaller increments than a wide container, giving higher accuracy. You could compare this concept to using a scale with 1g increments vs 5g increments. The smaller measurement is…

How to Measure the Specific Gravity of Your Glazes

How to Measure the Specific Gravity of Your Glazes

In this video I demonstrate how to measure the specific gravity of a glaze I just mixed using a graduated cylinder and a scale. Measuring specific gravity is a way to calculate the water content of a glaze to ensure that each time you glaze, you have the same amount of water…

Publications

Technofile: Air Bubble Myth

Published in Ceramics Monthly – Apr 2021

Click here to download this article and join my newsletter.

Originally published in April 2021 issue of Ceramics Monthly, pages 54-55. http://www.ceramicsmonthly.org. Copyright, The American Ceramic Society. Reprinted with permission.

Tips and Tools: The Kiln Sitter

Published in Ceramics Monthly – Nov 2020

Click here to download this article and join my newsletter.

Originally published in Nov 2020 issue of Ceramics Monthly, pages 60-61. http://www.ceramicsmonthly.org. Copyright, The American Ceramic Society. Reprinted with permission.

Technofile: Hard Panned Glazes

Published in Ceramics Monthly – Oct 2020

Click here to download this article and join my newsletter.

Originally published in March 2020 issue of Ceramics Monthly, pages 90-91. http://www.ceramicsmonthly.org. Copyright, The American Ceramic Society. Reprinted with permission.

Technofile: Bentonite

Published in Ceramics Monthly – March 2020

Click here to download this article and join my newsletter.

Originally published in March 2020 issue of Ceramics Monthly, pages 62-63. http://www.ceramicsmonthly.org. Copyright, The American Ceramic Society. Reprinted with permission.

teapot by Sue McLeod
500 teapots volume 2 cover

“O La Fuente”

by Sue McLeod

Published in 500 Teapots – Volume 2

Page 257

"Understanding Cone 6" - Pittsburgh 2018

My NCECA presentation Understanding Cone 6 is all about using glaze chemistry, the Unity Molecular Formula and the Stull chart to understand how different surfaces are created at cone 6.

Which glaze formulas are likely to be matte or glossy? Which ones are likely to be crazed or be under-fired? How does flux ratio impact fired results?

Click here to read or watch/listen to this presentation on my website.

Understanding Cone 6 presentation slides and script are also available as a free download!

Mix Your Own Glazes from Scratch - Online Workshop - Get Instant Access

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