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Third Friday Glazing: How Do You Think About Your Glaze Application...

This post is going to be a little different than my previous ones, because I would love to get a lot of different feedback from our clay bead making community - I know you are out there thinking about making beads, and some of you, actually making them and blogging about them…
I think I may need to change this to say: Third Friday Glazing...
We all start out with getting past a few basic steps when we decide to make clay beads:
1. What are you making? Bead, pendant, button, cabochon, etc?
2. Is it going to have a texture, pattern, or plain?
3. How is it to be finished? Will you glaze it or let the kiln firing itself decide or another technique entirely?
4. If you have decided to glaze: Will you be glazing the font, back, sides?

You then are faced with thinking about is actually glazing your piece. I guess it is really a matter of thinking backwards at this point. You may know how you "want" the piece to look in your head, but how do you get there? Then after managing getting it successfully through a glaze firing it comes down to using the bead - will all your efforts look good or total blah?

So this is where I would like your input… When you are making beads - how do you like to finish them - glaze wise?

You may have already posted about this on your blog in the past, maybe you want to? You don't have to give away trade secrets by any means. It is just interesting to see how people get through their process of making beads and finishing them.

I am hoping that this post helps spark some interest in some different glazing techniques...
And for making us all think a bit more about colors, line, perspective, etc (all those art foundations topics).


  1. i like making pendants but do some beads too..textures seem to work best with the matte to satin matte glazes,which are multi layered to give some interest and often can be a surprise when opening the kiln, pieces are glazed on the back but an unglazed back is really appealing as it would allow for more pendants to fit in the kiln..i'd like to hear what beaders prefer about that.
    i also like a drilled hole with jump ring..but it appears many people like a wire loop for stringing.

  2. From doing years of bead shows, from what I gathered from customers (everyone wants something different) I think it comes down to the feel of the clay.

    Most people liked the smoothness of a glazed back, but if your clay was fired to temperature, and unglazed, the vitrified surface (without groggy bumps) is pretty nice as well.

    I think the concern lies in where the piece is going to be used - will it pull at materials and get caught a lot? Will it scratch?

    I personally am drawn to pieces where you can see the clay. Not in the "I didn't feel like glazing the back or sides" way, more in the artfully done: look how amazing the interaction of the clay body is with the border of that glaze…

  3. Hope I did that right!!...Marti C.

  4. Well, you have totally asked all the questions I'm asking myself right now. My nieces have a kiln, glaze etc, but that wasn't good enough. plus they live 1 hr away. Not conducive when wanting to fire something, so I bought a kiln off craigslist.

    It is almost ready to fire, but I'm still wondering about glazes, types, brands. I'm doing my own research, but will love reading what others are doing.

    I mainly want to create cabs and pendants because I make bead embroidery and want to create my own designs.

    TY for bringing this up and looking forward to seeing what others have to say.

  5. Thanks for linking up Marti! Great post!!!

    I sure hope more people link up. Even if it is to ask a bunch of questions, share results that look horrible (don't we learn from our mistakes?).

    Beads-of-Clay is a learning and sharing community - so link on up everyone! Even if your post is not exactly on topic or perfect - as long as it touches on the topic in a way. And there is a month to link up for each monthly post!


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