SSL Certificate

John Britt

June 2012

Understanding Glazes and Firing

Course Description
This course is designed for potters who want to learn more about glazes and color development, or who are frustrated with not knowing what makes glazes work or fail, or who want to develop or adjust their own glazes. We will work as a group with low, mid-range, and high-fire glazes creating line and color blends to explore color possibilities over a broad range of bases. We will discuss what makes glazes work including oxides, kilns, firing, cones, Seger UMF, recipe method, etc. We will mix and test glaze recipes on test tiles, and participants may bring small bowls or cups to glaze in order to fill out the kilns (test tiles will have priority for space in the firings, and bowls and cups will be put in as we have space available). We will be firing in electric kilns to cone 05 and cone 6, in a gas reduction kiln to cone 10, and in a soda/salt kiln to cone 10. Students in the class may participate as much as desired in the actual loading and firing process. Participants with some experience in clay and glazing will benefit the most from this class, but all levels are welcome.

Supply List
* OSHA approved respirator or dust mask and a quart size zip lock bag (with your name on it) to keep it in.
* Journal and pen, sharpie markers,
* Braun (or some other brand) kitchen hand blender (a.k.a. immersion blender)
* One pair of latex gloves
* A small scoop for measuring out materials,
* 10 – 30 plastic cups (16 oz. blue or red party cups), and a couple of glaze brushes
* A triple beam scale if convenient (or a digital scale that measures to 1 gram)
Optional: bisqued test tiles made from the clay which you ordinarily use (please contact Claire Reishman about your clay ( so that we can be sure of what clay you are using)

*Items marked with an asterisk are available in the Shakerag store.

Artist's Statement

Hey, Hey, I like clay! (Oh and glazes too.)
I have been making pottery for over 25 years and still love creating things with clay, either on the wheel or sculpting them. I also have found that one of my most passionate loves is experimenting with glazes, from the simplest feldspar based shinos to the more complicated oil spots. It is always exciting to open a new kiln and see the amazing things that earth and fire can make with our help.
John can be reached at:

Artist's Biography
John Britt has been a potter and teacher for over 26 years. He lives in the mountains of western North Carolina although he grew up in Dayton, Ohio. John is primarily a self-taught potter who has worked and taught, both nationally and internationally, at universities, colleges, and craft centers, including the Penland School of Crafts where he served as the Clay Coordinator, and then as the Studio’s Manager. He is the author of The Complete Guide to High-Fire Glaze; Glazing & Firing at Cone 10 which was published by Lark Books in 2004, was the juror for the book 500 Bowls, was the technical editor for The Art and Craft of Ceramics, and has written numerous articles for ceramics publications including Ceramics Monthly, Ceramic Review, Studio Potter, Clay Times, Ceramic Technical, New Ceramics and The Log Book. He is currently a studio potter in Bakersville, North Carolina and teaches glaze chemistry, throwing, kiln building, glazing, and firing workshops.

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