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October 29, 2009

Glazing: To low fire or To high fire? That is the question.

Over the past 3 years glazing has been a great learning experience.  Especially in working with cone 6 and low fire glazes.  The mix and match of temperatures and chemicals can make your head spin.  But basically you have to ask yourself 2 things when dealing with each.   Do you want bright and vivid colors that stay were you put them?  Do you want you ware to be sturdy and to stand up to abuse?

High fire clays and glazes are sturdier and can take a lot more abuse for day to day ware than low fire glazes.  The glazes typically have a lot more depth and motion than with low fire. But the colors are more muted unless you are working with Mason Stains.

Low fire clays and glazes are bright and vivid and stay were you want them. But the look can be too stark unless you are good artist and have fluidity with a paint brush.  The ware also tends to be brittle during usage.

I guess you could say that with high fire the art is more impressionistic and with low fire it can be more modern and realistic.

Can you tell I am biased with high fire?  I like the look and feel of high fire, the durability and the movement than you can get with high fire glazes quickly and efficiently. I find it more interesting, but that is me, and others have other opinions.  But that is the great thing about working and playing at a pottery studio, you can be strict and straight or you can be lose and free form or experiment and do both.

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