Botz Glaze Review

Bots glazes! Thick brush on glaze that can give a punchy colour, but that can also be sensitive and shift around or not come out as expected. Botz were the first glazes I used because these were the glazes SB had in her studio and they are affordable at around £5-13 depending on the supplier and size of pot.

I began by buying ‘Black Blue Speckle’ and ‘Ice Crystal’. However I used them on two pieces that had quite a lot of detail and these were ultimately swamped I felt and the overall effect did not bring out the detail in a way I had hoped. The Black Blue colour had been as expected but the Ice Crystal had given a more sandy, beige effect rather than the white/blue speckle I had been hoping for. These items were made at home and fired at SB’s studio.

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When I fired the Ice Crystal at home however, it gave a dramatically different effect! This is exactly the same glaze as the top white pot, but fired by myself to cone 9 (1260 oC).

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I used the Black Blue again on a coffee jar with a white from SB’s studio and this was much more successful I felt.

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With my confidence restored a little, I decided to buy a couple more Botz glazes from Bath Potters as they were offering 10% off for first time customers. So, I decided to buy a Basalt Grey and a satin matt white called Creme. I didn’t have time to do testers and so used the glazes on some thrown pieces I did recently, and a couple of left over stars from Christmas to be used as testers.

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Overall I was reasonably happy with out the pieces came out, however the Basalt Grey was really more brown. I was surprised as I painted it on quite thickly for two coats. I didn’t think I would be able to get a third coat on without it pulling away, however perhaps that’s just what it needed to reach that deep stoney grey colour.

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Overall I find the Botz glazes to give good coverage and depth of colour (holding judgement on Basalt Grey), however they are far less predictable than say the Mayco and you use up much more glaze per coat than the thinner applying Mayco. For example air bubbles appeared in the white and in one area it completely shifted away from the ceramic underneath – there must have been grease or something on the clay, as I’ve no idea why this would have happened. The white also showed brush strokes in some areas, which I found with the Ice Crystal and grey as well, wheres this was not the case with the Black Blue. I had hoped the colours would interact between the gray/blue and white more, but this didn’t really happen.

Overall I like Botz glazes, however I think to get the desired effect I need to spend more time with testers and experimenting with firing at different temperatures. I would definitely buy them again but they are less versatile in terms of mixing and layering. (Perhaps they aren’t, if you have a different experience please let me know!). They also obscure surface texture quite a lot due to the thick layering required, but the colours can be striking and have a depth and quality to them that I really love.

Glazing goodies!

They’re here!! How quick is that?!

Two parcels arrived for me today: one from Bath Potters and one from Potclays. 

Sadly another of the glazes from Bath Potters was not available. When I rang up to follow up, they were very nice and apologetic saying that they’d had a school order in which had cleared the shelves! I don’t find getting angry or upset in these situations helps as many pottery and ceramic businesses are small family firms and need our support. And as they had apologised genuinely and promised to forward on the glaze asap, what more could you ask for? Plus with the 10% off at purchase and refund for the other glazes, I’m still happy with the prices I paid and the delivery was very quick! 

At the same time my delivery from Potclays arrived! This was one I was very excited about as the glazes look beautiful and I’m hoping to experiment with them. I tweeted this picture:

The guys at Potclays replied saying they noticed that freebies had been left out and would send them on separately. How nice is that? I don’t know many people who’d turn down a freebie but to go to the trouble really is lovely. I’ve found Potclays to be very approachable and forthcoming with advice and tips.

In fact everyone I’ve meet in the potting community has been very genuine, open and more than happy to talk pots and clay and all things ceramic. It’s wonderful and heart warming especially in the times we find ourselves in politically, that something as simple as clay can bring people together.

Well as I said before sadly we’re away this weekend otherwise I’d be wedging clay as we speak.. So it’ll be a few days before I get to make anything and longer before I get to  (fingers crossed) fire anything.

 But I can’t wait to get started! 

Love 

PG x

Brush on Stoneware Glaze (part 1)

I originally bought Botz glazes from Ceramatech in Tottenham (Steve at Ceramatech is genuinely lovely guy and very helpful should you ever contact them) as the bulk of the brush on glazes at SB’s studio are Botz and they are a short drive from where I live. The two first glazes I bought were Blue/Black 29883 and a white/blue speckled glaze called Ice Crystal 29898. The blue/black glaze came out well on my coffee jar:

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but inconsistently swamped another piece with more delicate detail:

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Whereas the Ice Crystal didn’t come out speckled blue at all, it came out more… dusty yellow? And again, didn’t do much for the detail with uneven coverage.

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These two initial pots of glaze were to give me something to work with at home for firing, however their versatility seems to be limited (..or perhaps it isn’t? Tips and ideas welcome!)

I mentioned in the previous post last night that I had put in an order for a few brush on glazes with Bath Potters. These were for two pots of Spectrum stoneware mid temp glaze (no. 1118 and 1115 if you’re interested!) and a grey and white Botz glaze. I had liked the look of the Spectrum glazes and was keen to try something new. Sadly they got in touch to tell me the Spectrum glazes I had ordered were out of stock, which is obviously a shame, but they were quick to offer either an exchange or refund (I opted for refund). I’m looking forward to getting the Botz glazes and will review them when they arrive. They fire at a high temperature and I hope to get creative, combining the two new Botz glazes with the two ones I have.

However I am still keen to get a few ‘base’ glazes, or staples.. Does that make sense? Block colours.. but versatile colours that I can use, layer, mix… something that gives me a little more to work with. For want of a better word, a ‘starter pack’ or something similar?

After putting my glaze dilemma out to Twitter (Started firing stoneware@ home – what brush on glazes to start with? Or try coloured slip? Thank you!), Mayco came back as the recommended option. Potclays even offered to throw in a few goodies if I ordered with them!

(I went for brush on glaze as I just don’t have the space to keep dipping glazes.. as I’ve said previously, all my pottery equipment needs to be packed away into the two large plastic tubs I keep in the outside loo! Yes we have an outside loo. No it doesn’t work. Yes I have converted it into my kiln space / pottery storage)

Which leads me to the present. I have just placed an order with Potclays for blue, white, green, grey and coral ‘Mayco Foundations Sheer’ glazes and a couple of designer liners which will allow me to ‘draw’ with glaze. Apparently these glazes don’t run very much and are forgiving in terms of coverage. I’m hoping to make a good few things for Christmas and I think these colours will be just the ticket!

One good thing about working full time now is having a few extra pennies at the end of the month to spend on things like this! Although I am still a dedicated bargain hunter. I don’t part with my hard earned money easily.

One day when I have my dream shed/permanent designated pottery space, I’d love to have a go with dipping glazes. I know you can buy them pretty much ready made, but it’d be fascinating to actually make a glaze from scratch and tinker with it. One day.. A girl can dream.

Fingers crossed the glazes arrive ok.. I better get to work so I have something to glaze!

Lots to look forward too… Christmas is coming early!

Stay tuned for part 2

PG xx

Dad to the kiln rescue! 

If you’re lucky like me, you have a Dad or someone  (male or female!) in your life who is that go to person for advice for anything from buying a pair of glasses to fixing a kiln.

As avid readers of this blog will recall, my kiln died the first time I tried to use it. Being an old second hand kiln and having done basic checks on the kiln, I was baffled and assumed something must be seriously wrong, or so wrong that I as an amateur potter should best leave it alone before I do myself  (or worse, the kiln) some damage. I rang the local recommended ‘kiln guy’ but he was busy for a few weeks. Needless to say the kiln sat unloved… until this week.

This week SB emailed to say her kiln has called it a day! Not only is the kiln not working, she has closed the studio as she can’t store the volume of items that would be made. 

I was facing the prospect of no ceramics until the new year. 

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Pottery keeps me sane. Genuinely. After a crap day at work and once Little One is in bed, pottery allows me to forget the stresses of the day and focus on something I have the power to change, shape and make. I love thinking up projects during my lunch hour or during my commute. As I’m sure it is for many of you out there, it’s become an important part of my life.
Therefore facing weeks without being able to make something, particularly at this festive time and me with friends and relatives expecting a little ceramic something.. it just wasn’t going to do.

Cue Dad! Dad overhears me telling Beloved that SB’s kiln has ceased to function and what does he do? Volunteers to take a look at it for me. 

And in less than 24hrs, my kiln is fixed!!

Turns out kiln was fine, my extension cable was to blame. Idiot here didn’t know you have to unravel the entire cable to prevent overheating within the extension cable frame when using the cable for prolonged periods of time. Little kiln was fine all along!! It was the extension cable that hadn’t cut the mustard. D’oh!?

Well. WELL. To celebrate, what did I just gone and do? Bought 4 more little pots of glaze that’s what! With SB’s studio closed for the time being I only have the the two pots of Botz glaze I bought for the first (failed) firing. I have used them both but with very mixed results.

I bought two more Botz glazes, a grey and a white, and two Spectrum glazes, a blue and a white. I also bought some cone 6s as the Botz glazes fire at a higher temperatures than the spectrum glaze. I bought all these (and a few more bits) from Bath Potters as their prices were better than Scarva and they had a 10% off for first online orders. Once they arrive I’ll do a proper review. Promise.

I’ll also build a few bits and bobs at home, try a bisque firing and a glaze firing – how exciting!! Lots to blog about. Although we’re away the next few weekends (tis almost the season to be jolly) but I’ll get to it as soon as possible!

So in summary:

  • SB’s studio is closed – Boo! 
  • My kiln works – Yay!
  • My Dad is awesome – Love ya Pops! 
  • Some new glazes to try out – Yay!

Happy days. 

On a different note. The political world had been turned upside down recently. Brexit.. Trump.. Whatever your political leaning, be kind to each other.

Love PG x