DVD REVIEW- Glazing and Firing

March 24, 2010
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Glazing and Firing begins with the basics: how to make and apply surface decorations and how to permanently change the composition of clay with the use of fire. In its most natural form, clay is nothing but earth, water and fire. Working with clay and glazes can be maddening at times, but with practice, experimentation and knowledge of the basic principles, desired effects may be achieved.

The DVD starts with a discussion on surface decoration. Beginning with clay in the wet stage (also known as greenware), slips, engobes, stains or oxides may be used as surface decoration before the piece is dried and fired. After the ware is dried and fired, the composition of the clay is permanently changed, and it’s now called bisqueware.

Discussion on the chemistry of glazes, as well as application methods, begins with the three basic components that form the building blocks of glaze, namely silica, flux and alumina. Mixing basics are shown and while it is very much like baking a cake, a certain procedure must be followed to achieve good glazes and the application process.

Next, we learn about methods of loading the two types of kilns: gas/fuel or electric (oxidation and reduction), and about how each kiln operates in regard to the creation of color. Finally, primitive methods for added special effects are discussed, which include pit/barrel and raku firings.

I think this is a great beginning on the basics of surface decoration and glazing, as well as an effective introduction to firing. However, I recommend that while mixing glazes, protective wear should include glasses, gloves and an aspirator.

ArtSmart Pottery Programs are educational videos and reference guides distributed by Crystal Productions. Crystal Productions’ mission is to “present a library of motivational art programs produced with leading artists and educators who inspire and instruct while bringing concepts and theories to life.” This focused, four-volume set of DVDs includes: Glazing and Firing, Handbuilt Pottery, Handbuilt Clay Sculpture, and Wheel Thrown Pottery. Each video includes a nifty Reference Guide, which has basic information for techniques, materials and economical tips for the preparation of a ceramic studio.


Title: Glazing and Firing
Length: 28 minutes
Price: $29.95
Written and directed by: Bethany Erlandson
Narrated by: John Peterson
Artist include: Kay Campbell, Ann Schade, Len Stach, Andrew Kazukewicz, Christine LePage and Gary Roehborn.

For more information, visit www.crystalproductions.com.

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