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Celebration of Scholarship and Creative Activity 2022

“Ceramic Art Exploration: A Dive into Making Custom Glazes”

Ashlyn O’Brien

Senior, Art Education

Abstract

Creating ceramic artwork is a multi-step process that includes sculpting, firing, and glazing all of which are time-consuming processes. Glazing ceramics is a crucial step that allows for the addition of color and unique surface finishes. Making custom mixed glazes is possible but is only briefly touched on in upper-level ceramics courses. The purpose of this methodological study, as a future art educator, was to expand my knowledge of the glazing and firing process that is crucial when creating ceramic artwork. Because glazes are made with diverse chemical-compounds, many trials were conducted to mix and test a custom palette of assorted gloss-finish colors. The trials were conducted using hand-thrown ceramic tiles to test combinations of different glaze colors and finishes. I made and tested over seventy different glaze recipes to reach the result of eight unique glaze colors. I have also made multiple types of ceramic works that display the final eight glazes using a variety of different application techniques like dipping, brushing, sponging, and spraying on the glazes. The different ceramic works I made to showcase the glazes include plates, bowls, pots, containers with lids, vessels, and various other forms. I am satisfied with the consistency in the glazes I developed. All the glazes are rich in pigment and perform at a satisfactory level, meaning that they do not run or bubble when fired in the kiln, and they have a consistent finish.

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