In the studio sit a row of glaze test tiles like proud third graders waiting to present their painted Styrofoam solar systems to class. Full of can’t-sit-still-in-your-seat potential!
These tests are mostly blues. Beautiful blues. Those who run in ceramic circles understand that blue just isn’t that difficult to create. And yet…I have an inordinate number of blue tests. It’s not so much the color as it is the behavior of the glaze I’m interested in. The tests are part of an attempt to finesse an existing glaze. My original blue has an occasional cosmetic glitch. No big deal. That is, until it cosmetically glitches all over a commission piece. (frustrating!)
At times the continual testing seems like an exercise in futility. So many of the results should be tossed directly into the trash from the still warm kiln.
**There are some clay folk who refuse to contribute a test to the shard pile; squirreling away years of tiles in an old, bulging cardboard box, never to be seen again. Never. Ever. (that…right there…an episode of Hoarders)
Not completely exclusive, my row of tests include several varied greens. I’m always interested in another wonderful green. (not obsessed. not.)
Each of these tests fail in one way or another for it’s intended purpose. Hopeful efforts crushed by disillusionment. (sigh) Still, I try to live with them for awhile. (they will eventually make their way to the trash)
If the tests are close to my target, I will spend some soul searching with my chemistry in an effort to tweak the glaze into submission. However, I refuse to work glaze improprieties like the never ending task of Sisyphus. I will adjust it a time or two and move on.
If my results stray far from the goal, I often find myself considering how I might encourage such bad behavior for the purpose of clay drawings. Encouragement generally comes in the form of unconventional – sometimes abusive – application methods. These are the glazes I enjoy the most. Rebellion: the most exciting part of the glaze process!
Full of can’t-sit-still-in-my-seat potential!