ASI teachers are using glazes with students that are much easier to use than in the olden days! New glazes actually can be identified as the color they will become after the kiln firing.
We used to ask the students to ignore the color and read the label before painting their pieces and to try to imagine what their sculptures and containers might look like if brown colored glaze really does turn blue in the Kin after the firing as it was intended. The worst was when students painted trees sculpture and animals with one of our brown colored glaze only to find out after the firing that it was blue.
Glazes for kids have come a long way! The red actually turns out a bright red after firing. These days there isn’t that surprise of painting a piece with gray glaze and not being so sure how it will turn out….maybe blue, maybe green? And that follow-up explanation to students when questioned whether they put enough layers to warrant thick coat described on glaze directions. “Let’s keep our fingers crossed you like it!”
Because we have such a limited amount of time during the summer. We have experimented with painting raw clay with glaze which we fired just once.
This new product that we are using mixes as well, so if a student wants to make a yellowish-green they can mix those two glazes together. Being able to mix glazes to make a blue-violet can really come in handy for students who have just recently mastered the color wheel and are ready to explore color more.
On the downside, as with mixing tempera, there is a predominate pull for students to mix large batches of gray – the non-analogus color glazes mixes tend to move towards gray rather quickly. Students are taught to dab with the brushes and lay glaze on thickly.
Students are also taught to be very careful not to get glaze on the bottoms of their pieces. We have several classroom inspections of clay before it goes in the kiln and use sponges and scrub sponges to clean the bottoms which is necessary to prevent the pieces from sticking to the kiln.
One of the student’s teddy bear head broke from the side of her cup and the student wanted the teddy bear went with the accident and decided to have it on the bottom of the cup. This is a good learning lesson for students to see that it only takes a small amount of glazed to stick Clay items together permanently. A reminder not to get glaze on the bottom of their work so as not to get the pieces stuck to the bottom of the kiln.
Some students had some challenges identifying their initials and then difficulty writing and later reading their initials which they carved into the bottoms of their raw clay pieces with toothpicks.
Unfortunately, we had some extra raw clay work that was not claimed so we decide to have students glaze them all in the hopes that they’ll recognize their pieces when they have a chance to hold them.