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5 Glaze Books Review

Today I am delving into my vast ceramic book collection and selected some glaze books. I thought it would be helpful to give a brief overview of each book.

  • 1. First up (in order of my pile) is The Glaze Book by Thames & Hudson
    This book is divided up into 3 main sections, the first being earthenware, that is divided up further within into majolica, raku and lustres. The second half of the book is stoneware and porcelain glazes. What I really like is that the glazes are categorised within colours, both reduction and oxidised glazes are given. Each glaze has its firing range, use and a brief description. Personally I have tried about 6 glazes and had mixed results.

    2. Next up is Dry Glazes by Jernegan.
    This book does not display the glaze colours very effectively, all the glaze tests are butted up against one another, and knowing that colour is relative it can be hard to envision what the glaze will look like. This is probably why I have probably never mixed a glaze from its catalogue. However it does share some really good information about glazes, It gives an analysis of what makes a dry glaze dry and shares examples of ceramic artists works. The book goes into detail about slips and engobes, alkaline glazes, boron and lead, magnesium glazes, barium glazes, oxides and raku. It is a good book for understanding what material’s impact the appearance of a glaze and would be helpful to the non functional pottery maker.

    3. The Potters Book of Glazes Recipes by the late and well renowned potter Emmanuel Cooper
    Another beautifully laid out book. The glaze pictures are a little small, but all very clear. The glazes are divided up into their firing temperatures. And a valuable addition to some glazes is that it gives variations with some slight tweaking. I have tested a couple of the recipes and they had similar results to the ones in the book.
  • 4. The Potters Palette by Christine Constant and Steve Ogden
    This is one of my oldest glaze books and a favourite. The book gives a selection of glaze bases; 4 at earthenware and 2 at stoneware temperatures and then each section is divided by the main ceramic oxides and shows you the results the oxides have on each of the base glazes. It also gives examples of these glazes with opacifiers added. The final section of the book includes some stain suggestions and cross blends. I have some of the best glazes from this book, highly recommend.
  • 5. Colour in Glazes by Linda Bloomfield
    From the oldest to my newest addition. Linda has such knowledge about glazes and explains it in a really easy to understandable way. She works with porcelain so I knew her glazes would be good for porcelain application. The book is divided by colour and also gives examples of current ceramic artists work, which is really helpful to see compared to small test tiles. I have had 100% success with the glazes I have trialled and look forward to testing more as the colours she creates, or has referenced from other ceramic artists, are really beautiful.

All of these books have their own area’s of expertise, finding the one that fits with your style and type of ceramic work is important. Its great testing out new glazes and having some expert guidance to start you on a glaze test journey gives you the confidence to get started. Do think of them as a starting point, as often the results may be different due to other factors, such as your firing cycle, different sources of raw materials etc. Tweak the glazes, change the ratio’s of the ingredients and this way you find your very own glaze catalogue.

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