The Magic: Glazing!

Glazing is tedious work, but it is magic in the end! Glazing begins by making test tiles, dipping them in glaze, firing them, and then tweaking the glaze - sometimes many times - thinner or thicker, in conjunction with other colors, etc. - before actually glazing beads. Once I know what the glaze will do, I begin by setting the bisque ware out, usually rematching sets of beads or earring bead pairs. I like to place them in groups according to the glaze I will use. Dipping is my preferred method. In the interim, the beads aren't very pretty, but instead have a pastel chalky quality. Pink beads may end up dark blue, and light green beads may end up brown, so the results are absolutely unknown until that second firing is over.

The work itself can be really grueling, as it includes long periods of time standing over a sink, dipping, hanging the beads to dry, and setting them on a tray. The tray is then taken out to the kiln, where each bead is painstakingly set onto stilts. Have you ever played the game Operation? Yes, it's exactly like that, only instead of a buzzer, you may end up with a bead that is uselessly glued to another. 

The result is like Christmas! I love opening the kiln, which invariably happens in the morning. It takes roughly 9 long hours to fire, and then around 5 hours to cool enough to peek. Oh yes, you guessed it - I have a fork and an old pot holder by the kiln because I'm as impatient as a child! 

Below are images of pieces before and after the glaze fire: 

Beads glazed but unfired    Glazed test tiles

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