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Intro to Glazes & Firing Kilns Course


Intro to Glazes & Firing Kilns Course




Six week course, one 2.5 hour session per week

Wednesday 8th May- 12th June 6.00-8.30 weekly

Tutor: Judith Roberts

Course Description

Would you like to know more about glazes but don't know where to start?

In this six week course students will be introduced to the basics of glaze theory and how to develop a range of glazes. Students will learn about the composition of glazes, types of glazes and their purposes. The steps on how to mix glazes, handle raw materials and safe studio practices will be covered. Students will be taught methods on how to create, develop and blend glazes, how to introduce colour, glaze application and troubleshooting common glaze problems. This course will also cover the basics of firing ceramics, with an emphasis on electric kilns, looking at firing cycles, 'heatwork', loading kilns and kiln safety. This course will focus on stoneware glazes. Please bring along your own apron, notebook and pen.

Week 1 -  In this first session students will learn what clay and glaze are and their main ingredients. There will be discussion on the purposes and types of glazes and an overview on the history of glazes. Students will be made aware of health and safety issues when working with glaze and raw materials. In this first week students will make test tiles and select a glaze to make the following week.

Week 2 -  The process of bisque firing will be discussed in relation to glazes. Students will develop an understanding of the variables involved in glaze results, such as temperature, clay body and application. Handling raw materials will be discussed in greater detail as students make their chosen glaze, learning how to weigh, sieve and mix. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) and methods for recording glaze testing will be discussed.

Week 3 -  Results from the previous week will be discussed. An explanation of colouring glazes, using oxides and stains, will be discussed. Students will learn the steps involved in conducting a line blend, a method for testing glaze materials to achieve a range of results. Students will conduct their own line blend.

Week 4 -  Results from the previous session will be discussed. In this session students will gain an understanding of the different kilns available for use, fuels used and different firing effects. There will be a discussion of the types of kilns used at Northcote Pottery Supplies and the characteristics of electric kilns. Students will learn about kiln shape and size, elements, packing kilns, temperature controllers, heat work, cones and kiln safety.

Week 5 -  Shop Tours! Please arrive 10 minutes prior to the start of your class for a brief tour of our pottery shop and SMALLpieces space. In this session students will gain an understanding of different glaze application methods, such as dipping, pouring and brushing and cleaning the bases of forms. There will be discussion of common glaze problems and troubleshooting. Students will have the opportunity to experiment with different application methods on their own forms.

Week 6 -  Results from the previous session will be discussed. The tutor will recap what has been covered in the course, with the opportunity for questions and further discussion. Students will be made aware of important sources of information for glazes and health and safety.

Tutor Profile Glenn England

Glenn England has been teaching ceramics for the past 27 years. She has recently retired, moved to the Dandenong Ranges and re-established her studio there.  Glenn started her formal ceramics training in 1981 at Bendigo School of Mines. In 1985 she completed a Bachelor of Arts (Ceramic Design) at Monash University, Caulfield and in 1996 a Graduate Diploma of Visual Arts (Ceramics), Monash University. Over 35 years Glenn’s ceramics have been an ongoing narrative of her experiences, interests and inspirations. She is currently enjoying the freedom to explore her environment and make a body of work evoking a sense of time, place and memory.