Here is the last set of pictures for the tile project I’ve been chronicling recently (look back at the previous three posts if you want to see the other members of the group).
Today’s topic for tiles is – glazing.
To explain, I’ve been painting with underglazes, in this case, Velvet, made by Amaco. In essence, they are colored slips that come in a large number of colors. They are not the “shiny”, they are the “color”, is how I explain it to non-clay-making people. I love using them because they can be used in bisque or greenware situations, they can be used on any kind of clay, they can easily be mixed to form new colors, and – the color they are in the container, well, that’s the color they are in the end, only more intense – which is not the case with glazes.
Underglazes end up with a matte finish, soft-looking. They do not give you a food-safe surface, if you need that, and they are not shiny. If you want shiny, you need to add the glaze. Glaze is a glassy substance that adheres to the clay through firing – it can have color or be clear, depending on the minerals and substances added. What it looks like the bottle is not what it will turn out to be after firing.
These tiles have been coated with underglaze with clear glossy glaze on top. Glaze was necessary because the surface of the tiles needed to be easily washable and non-absorbent. My relief tiles and my sculptural work, though, do not have the top layer of glaze, since they are not functional, and I like the matte look of underglaze only. I’m also in the process of making some more tiles (I’ll show you when they are done) that I plan to leave with underglaze only, and set into a frame.
I find that glazing is hard. Not painting the scene, but applying the “shiny” so that it is evenly coated and with a flat, non-bubbly surface. Also, glazing emphasizes any brushstrokes or unevenness in the underglazing. Finally, there is no telling what effect firing will have – you may think you have a wonderful glaze application and be disappointed with the results and have no idea why.
So, I tend to stick with underglaze only, and it suits me well to use this product. It echoes my experience in acrylic painting and so I get the benefit of my work beyond what I do in clay.
All right, take a look at this group, knowing now what I did to get the color and the shiny to cooperate!