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Did you find doing glaze tests and experiments helpful (or not) and why?

Student 1

Learning about how to make glazes from scratch I found very important and a huge section of learning about ceramics in general.

I found the tiles available with glazes on them excellent for understanding layers, recipes, and colours achieved.

I found wall charts with simple directions helpful to remind me how a sequence of steps is carried out. Being able to try and experiment something out for myself really helped me to learn by trial and error. Wall charts are also helpful with clay types (unfired, fired glazed etc) also temperature charts for firing. Glaze recipe book with samples, photos could be helpful, or other students recipes etc.

Student 1: final piece 1

Student 1: final piece 2

Student 2

I found doing glaze tests helpful because it gave me an indication of how my piece might look when finished so helped in my decision making process.

Student 2: final piece

Student 2: final piece

Student 3

I found it extremely useful. It was nice to be able to learn from my own mistakes and get some really interesting results.

Student 3: test tiles

Student 3: final piece

Student 4

Normally I rely on the already glaze tests which are kept in the studio- I find they are useful enough for my studies. I have dons a few tests myself in the past and they have had interesting outcomes, but to me there isn’t any difference than the ones I have done and ones which already have been done. But I guess they are tests I can keep and record and I get to understand the thickness of it.

Student 4: final piece

Student 5

It has been helpful as it stops me completing my work blindfolded. It allows me to see what my glazes will look like and whether I should apply more or less. It helps you to envisage the final outcome and allows you to make changes before applying a glaze to a final piece.

Student 5: final piece

Student 6

I prefer not to use glaze tests because it is time consuming. I have only ever worked with ceramics at school or at Wimbledon so ceramics has always come with these related issues, so glaze tests just mean extra time. I think they would be helpful but I choose not to use them when I can avoid it.

Student 6: test 1

Student 6: test 2

Student 6: final piece 1

Student 6: final piece 2

Student 7

Really helpful because I was able to understand how the recipes and chemicals worked and reacted together.  And I learnt how a glaze can change dramatically from gram to gram of oxides for example. I made a glaze from scratch but added four different ingredients to each recipe and got four very interesting glazes on test tiles.

Had I not been able to test them first I could have ended up  with a final project with colours and glazes I didn’t like.

Student 7: test 1

Student 7: test 2

Student 7: final piece 1

Student 7: final piece 2

Student 7: final piece 3

Student 8

Gives you more of an idea of how things might turn out. Good point of reference for those who had no previous experience.

Student 8: final piece

Student 8: final piece (detail)

Student 9

Yes they allowed me to see how my final project would turn and having seen the different effects created from different numbers of layers of glaze I was able to create good effects that I would not have previously thought of or done.

Student 10

I think glaze tests and experiments are very helpful and are something students should do during foundation course. Not only were the test tiles I made during the final project useful to choose appropriate colours for my work but these were also very good practice to controll thickness and thinness of glazes, which resulted in me having much more confidence in applying colour. Moreover, the tiles made me think about how the outcome of my final work could be improved more and I personally enjoyed the chemical reaction that happened in the kiln very much.

Student 10: raw test

Student 10: final piece

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Author: pandaji

Ceramic artist, educator

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