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Re: Glazes for elementary school


Date: Sat Oct 23 2004 - 06:58:44 PDT

A few people have asked what kind of glazes I use. That's pretty funny,
because I just buy colors I like, and I don't stick with any particular
brand. I have overglazes by Duncan, Mayco, Spectrum and Amaco in my box
of glazes for my kids. This is not practical advice for how to build a
good collection of glazes, is it?
I'm laughing as I write this. I really do just buy colors I like, but
non toxic for little kids below 6th grade. I buy Duncan and Amaco
underglazes, and I use a 5 gallon bucket of Duncan clear glaze (it's
pink tinted in the bucket) to dip our underglazed pieces in after the
underglazes are fired on. When I buy a new glaze, I add it to a test
tile and slap it on a masonite board that has our glazes on it. I am no
shining star of how to choose and organize your glazes, I just buy what
I like, no matter who makes it.

NOW...if I was starting over from scratch, I would use velcro to attach
my glaze tiles to a board. That way, you could put up just the colors
you have on hand as samples. You could take down samples you run out of
and throw them into a "buy more of these" box as you need to replenish.
Frighteningly simple system. Just glue velcro to the back of each lttle
tile and put velcro on a board in a grid that would fit behind your
tiles. I currently use a Sharpie to write "D" for Duncan, "A" for
Amaco, "S" for Spectrum on the glazed part of each tile sample as I put
it out. That way the kids know at least what brand or bottle style to
look for in their search for glazes. I keep them in boxes of specific
colors, yellows and greens together, blues in one box because I have
more blues, red, purple, and orange in a box, neutrals in a box. I put
these boxes out on individual tables when we glaze, and kids move from
table to table to find the glaze color they need, WITH their work. That
way the glazes are always in an area where you can find a color you want
and you share with someone else and paint right out of the bottle. If
someone ever drops a bottle of glaze and spills it, wring all the water
out of a sponge, wipe across the glaze, and scrape it back into the jar
right off the sponge. You get most of it back that way.
Bottle sizes are something to consider if you are working with Kindy or
First graders. Spectrum makes quart bottles that are low and fat. Hard
to pick up and carry around for little hands. Fine for older kids.

I just finished my glaze order for this year, and I bought all Spectrum
glazes. I just selected colors in a pallette that I liked. But there
are some colors that Amaco and Duncan makes that you just don't see in
Spectrum...Duncan's Apple green is a fav. Amaco has some beautiful low
fire mottled color glazes. I would LOVE to make my life simple and just
use one brand, but I know me...that will never happen, lol. If you
glaze the way I do, your color chart will always be in a state of flux.
You could try putting little tiny stickers on the glaze tiles that you
have available that day for your kids...more work, but it works. You
will still hear whining about colors that you are out of, or colors they
wish they had, but that's life.

I learned long ago to keep my oil pastel box limited to one brand.
There's nothing so frustrating as to use up all of a color in an oil
pastel and go searching for another one to finish your masterpiece and
find out that it was a Craypas but we used those two years ago and now
use Pentel....sorry, no more of that color.
When we are glazing the same thing can happen if you run out of a color
and kids are only half way finished using it. I tell my kids before
they start glazing to make SURE we have enough of a color they want
BEFORE they start using it. If there is only one bottle, 3/4ths gone,
and they want to glaze their whole piece with it, they'd best see if
there is a backup. That works, as long as I remind them about it when
they start. I'm still laughing, Judy, that you think I am a glaze
guru...haha! I just buy what I like from whoever makes it. Keep it
nontoxic for kids under 6th grade, make sure older kids WASH THEIR HANDS
before they leave your class, and have them wear aprons.

Linda Woods

Visit our student's web art gallery at St.John's School
 click on "Stories of SJS," click on "Arts Stories," click on Linda
Woods' name. View artwork by Lower, and Middle School students as well
as our art archives.