There are so many steps involved in making a piece of pottery. One of the most important but often the most difficult is glazing. It is art, chemistry and physics and I believe a bit of magic. It is a part of the craft that often feels separate for me from the clay, and it is a bit scary too. I never know quite what I am going to get, and the opening of every kiln load is a surprise. I have learned to roll with the punches, because that is a part of the process. Often in the same kiln load I will have wonderful and terrible. I may open to find one or more of the most beautiful piece and other pieces may have cracks and drips that leak onto the kiln shelves which then requires scraping and on occasion, putting the shelf into the pottery grave yard.
There are so many choices to make when glazing. Just to have a collection of glazes takes a lot of experimentation and testing, as not all glazes fit with all clays. If one shrinks more than the other, the piece breaks. And there is temperature to consider, as glazes mature with different amounts of heat.
Today is a glazing day. The studio is nice and warm from a glaze firing that is still in the kiln cooling, so that is a big bonus on a chilly and gray November day in Vermont. The pieces that are in the kiln now were either orders or things that are easier for me to glaze. Today I am faced with the pieces that require more artistic choices. These are the pieces that I must get into the Zen of my work and channel my visions, because what is on the piece at the glaze state looks nothing at all like what will come out of the kiln after it is fired!