Life cycle of a piece: Sugar Skull Madonna (part four)

If you’ve missed them, you can catch up with Part OnePart Two, and Part Three.

Now we’re at the end – glazing and firing.

Glazed, ready to fire

Here she is with a couple of hefty, or what the instructions call “flowing coats” of clear glaze. Yes, it’s green! That messed me up, too. My whole life, the clear glaze I’ve used (coincidentally, this brand) was the palest, lightest blue. A couple of years ago they changed their format and now they are sort of a bright, lime-green. For the most part I am a “light” glazer; I usually need to have three coats to get everything even. But this is a very thick glaze and I’ve discovered that three coats is just a hair too much, and things come out… well, it’s hard to describe over-glazed. It bubbles a little, because it’s so thick, and if you have a highly detailed piece sometimes the glaze can be so thick as to fill in cracks like a paste rather than a thin glaze. So for clear, I’ve started stopping at two coats.

More after the cut!

In the kiln with all her little friends

Here she is in the kiln, with all her little friends. To glaze fire, I fire to Cone 06; this usually takes just under eight hours and gets the kiln up to about 1800 degrees. After it reaches its ideal temperature and firing time, and turns off, my kiln needs anywhere from 12-16 hours to cool down enough to open. It’s quite a life lesson for someone as impatient as I am… opening too early, when there’s too much temperature difference between the inside of the kiln and the temperature outside, you can crack all your pieces. The sudden colder air will indeed crack the glass of the glaze, and LET ME TELL YOU that is a bad, bad sound. So I’ve learned to not open the kiln if there’s more than, say, a 40-degree difference.

Sugar Skull Madonna: fini

And here she is, finished! Isn’t she lovely? You can find her, and her sisters, for sale in my Etsy shop. I also have a custom option, if you want something different than what’s currently in stock.

Speaking of custom, I’m trying to get 100 fans on my HaldeCraft Facebook page; if I get that many before April 30th, I’ll do a random drawing from among the fans for a free custom Sugar Skull Madonna – and I’ll give everyone who’s a fan a 20% off coupon for my shop.

Anyway, thank you for reading along about my process – I hope you liked getting a little glimpse into what the work is like, and how I spend my days. Thanks, y’all!

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