What Do the Glaze Materials Do?

Do you look at a glaze recipe and wonder what the heck all those materials are there for? This is the most common question I hear when it comes to what people are most confused about or what they most wish they understood about glaze recipes.

In fact, I posted a survey in my Facebook Group – Understanding Glazes with Sue to see what people most want to learn about, and here are the results:

Understanding what all the glaze materials are for is by far the thing people want to learn the most.

Glaze recipes include all sorts of seemingly complicated and technical materials like Whiting, Feldspars, Nepheline Syenite, Gerstley Borate etc., in certain percentages. Many of us just weigh out these materials without having a clue as to why they’re in the glaze or what function they perform.

Understanding the role each material plays in our glaze, at least on a very basic level, can feel very empowering. It’s really the first step to understanding glaze chemistry, which opens up a whole other world of ceramic possibilities.

A beginner friendly workshop

If you’re ready to start learning about glaze materials, then you don’t want to miss this beginner friendly workshop where I’ll explain what glazes are made of, how they melt in the kiln, and how each material fits into the the equation. No experience with glaze chemistry is necessary.

The only experience you need is to have is, at some point, you looked at a glaze recipe and thought “I have no idea what any of this means”.

This workshop was taught live on Mar 26, 2022

Registration has now closed for this workshop.

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“I’m amazed by Sue’s complete knowledge of such a complex subject.”

Barry - workshop student

Your Instructor – Sue McLeod

I’ve been fascinated with glaze chemistry since I first learned to mix glazes from scratch in 2009. I really started to take it seriously when I started unloading kiln load after kiln load of runny glazes and cracked pots. I could no longer afford to not understand glaze chemistry. It’s been a passion of mine ever since and I continue to learn more and more with each kiln unload.

From 2015-2021, I worked as a ceramics studio technician at a busy public studio in Victoria, BC, Canada, where it was my job to mix and maintain large batches of glaze and fire the kilns. During this time, I was able to study the thousands of glazed pots coming out of the kiln and use my knowledge of glaze chemistry to improve many of the glazes so studio users could have more successful glaze results.

I now teach online glaze courses full time.