I wrote a few weeks ago about making new tree mugs, including the “Cabeer”, a mug that looks like a big tree trunk and is inspired by that famous Highland Games event. Since then I’ve been experimenting with glazes, trying to get an effect I am happy with.
Each time I turned on the kiln, I took lots of notes about the way I applied the glaze to each piece. I carefully tweaked the firing schedule taking into account how the last attempt went. And with each attempt I came to realise just how much of an art glazing is. There are so many factors that can have an effect on the the final pieces: the way the glaze is applied, the thickness of the glaze, order of application, as well as the amount of “heat work” in the kiln. You can see some of the attempts in this slideshow.
It was exciting waiting for the firing to complete and I love the way the dull grey glazes magically change into glossy colours. And even the “failures” have their own wonderful bits of colour and pattern. Each try was another step towards a lovely product.
And so to the final pieces… I started out trying to make the mugs look like real trees. But the opacity of the glaze changes so much in the kiln that what you take out is a different product to what you put in. But I did get better at making them look like trees.
I also decided that the ones where I didn’t try to be accurate turned out the best. Letting the reactive glazes do their own thing produces unusual results. I didn’t think I was going to make blue trees but they are my favourites now.
They are on sale at the new Highland Artisans in Grantown-on-Spey High Street. This is a lovely gift shop showcasing arts and crafts from around the area.
Looking forward to hearing what you think of them.