Monday, April 1, 2013

How does she do that?

Today, I thought I'd show you how I glaze my striped mugs. These mugs are glazed in black on the outside and in another (usually lighter) color on the inside. This inside glaze is also used on the top third of the outside of the mug and in the stripes. It's easier if you just see what I mean.

Step 1: Prepare bisqued mug

That means, wash it to get all the clay dust off and then wax the bottom.

Step 2: Glaze the inside in the color of the stripes.

If any glaze drips on the outside, scrape it off with a metal rib or knife once the glaze is dry and wipe off with a clean sponge if necessary.

Step 3: Apply a masking tape to form the lines.

I use electrical tape because I find it gives me good coverage. However, electrical tape tends to stretch slightly as you pull it off so tape the top edge down, pull the tape to the bottom and relax it a bit to let spring back. Then tape the bottom edge down and cut with a scalpel or X-acto knife. You end up with mugs that look like this. Note the glaze on the inside.

Step 4: Glaze the outside in the dark or contrasting glaze.

Simply dip the mug in the contrasting glaze as far as you want it to go, usually as high as the top of the electrical tape or a little lower. [As you can see, you can use this system for items other than mugs.]

Step 5: Brush wax resist on the contrasting glaze.

The point here is to cover the edges of  the electrical tape on both sides so that when you glaze the stripes you don't smudge the contrasting (in this case, black) glaze. I don't cover all the glazed portions because I use a brush to paint on the glaze in the stripes. If you would rather dip the whole mug in the glaze, then you would have to cover the entire (black) glazed surface in wax. I use Highwater Clay's Mobil Wax because I like the way it spreads on easily without clumping. 

Step 6: Peel off the electrical tape.

Use the tip of a needle tool, scalpel or knife to lift up the edge of the tape and begin pulling it off. Do this slowly. If the wax starts to come up with the tape, stop! and use your scalpel to lightly cut the wax at the edges of the tape so only the tape comes up. You will get very crisp lines with contrasting (black) glaze. However, if some glaze bled into the stripe, use your scalpel to carefully scrape it  and a stiff brush to get it off.

Step 7: Glaze the stripes.

I put some glaze in a small bowl so as not to have to keep going back to the large bucket. Then I load up a brush with glaze and carefully fill in the stripes. I usually do three layers of glaze for adequate coverage and to ensure that I don't get any brush strokes.

Step 8: Glaze the top of the mug.

By now, the glaze that you used for the inside of the mug and on the stripes has probably settled so remember to stir it up again. Then, holding the mug by the bottom, dip it into the glaze up to the demarcation where the contrasting glaze begins. Check to make sure that you've also glazed the handle all the way.

And there you are! Follow your usual steps before putting it in the kiln. I usually rub any drips off with my finger and heal any pinholes that may have appeared. I also double check that the foot is clean and, if needed, clean off any glaze that may be on top of the waxed portions.