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OOPS #3 - More Ways to Work with Disasters: Article or Project

Fired Glaze item that turned out bad

Face it. The most difficult pieces to refurbish are glazed.

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This is the second in a series on things to do when you make mistakes that cannot be fixed. You’ve glazed a piece and the colors did not turn out. I mean REALLY bad. Example: you fired red with a non-compatible green. Well, if you’ve ever done this, you know what can happen – ICK! Or you fired a piece with too much glaze application and it ran off the piece (dripping on the shelf most likely) leaving bumps on the bottom so the item cannot sit properly, or you had a kiln misfire and the piece melted into a warped lump or mass. Maybe your piece cracked during firing or from thermal shock. You get the idea?

1. Before giving up on your glazed piece, check around and see if it can be fixed somehow. You would be surprised. Some mistakes can be remedied with reapplication of the glaze and/or re-firing your piece.

2. If you have a shop/studio that is open to the public, you might want to set-up a display showing mistakes and what NOT to do. A visual is always a much better lesson than just talking or reading about it.

3. You have a piece that the decal messed up. You can try to fire it off; but sometimes there is still a trace of the overglaze design left. Try applying mother of pearl or other luster over the item including the decaled area. It can create a pretty and elusive effect.

4. Wearing protective goggles, take the item and lay it between a folded towel and break it into pieces with a mallet. Break all the large pieces into smaller pieces. Be careful handling the pieces and the crumbs because they have shards of glaze (GLASS) edges and they are sharp. Pick out the larger pieces from about ½” to 2” and discard the rest. Be careful to not shake the towel – you do not want crumbs to fly where they will hurt someone or breathe in the dust particles.

Find yourself a suitable piece of plain bisque, some plaster or other kind of grout and create a mosaic with the broken pieces. Odd shapes and angled pieces and even designs like flowers or pieces of wings can be used as focal points in your design. Mosaics don’t have to have all flat pieces. Use a stilt stone or other file to sand away edges to make shapes fit together better.

You can also bag these pieces and sell them to others who want to try their hand at doing mosaics.

5. Keep a box or bin handy to hold all the mistakes. I called mine a stress box. On days that I, or my kids, or my customers felt like screaming, we would go outside to a designated are and throw the pieces against the wall. It felt so good, no one minded having to clean up after.

They make good skeet targets too.

6. You don’t like the color. Consider applying some kind of over glaze. It is amazing the effects you can get from this simple ‘fix’.

7. Use a china paint that is a compatible color and darker than your item and sponge the color onto your piece and fire it.

8. Buy a can of texturize paint from your neighborhood Home Depot, Lowe’s or other paint store and spray your piece. The color may eventually chip off, but it can look nice for quite some time with a little care. They have some great stone like sprays.

9. Try taking that ‘ugly’ piece and do a raku firing with it. You will get some amazing effects.

10. Take a spray can of automotive or metal primer and spray your item with several light coats until it is well covered. Let dry between coats. Take a can of high gloss spray or enamel like Krylon Craft paint and apply several coats until you get a coverage of effect that is pleasing. If your piece does not completely shine like you want, but you like the coverage, then use Krylon gloss spray to finish. This should last for a long time with resonable care.

11. Use this damaged piece as a base for mosaic with other's broken bits.

Have you got any creative ideas you would care to share?


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