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A common question asked at Stone Leaf is how to thin glaze that is too thick. A brushing glaze will be too thick to be optimal brushing consistency for a customer. This occasionally happens straight out of the jar, but more often it happens after a customer has used the glaze a couple times, then doesn’t come around to using the glaze for a month or six.
When a customer needs to thin a glaze, including reconstituting it from a thick, yogurt like consistency, we always recommend that distilled water or club soda is used. Stone Leaf founder, Ingrid talks about her glaze problems over the years:
In 1972, as a former student at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, I had designed a glaze and done the tests, was happy, and then proceeded to make a batch of dipping glaze. I dipped several dozen pieces, and set aside my glaze for at least a month. When I returned to use the glaze, it was set up like concrete and was ruined.
I called my professor, Don Miller, what was causing the problem. He explained that at times the ionic charge in the glaze combines with the ionic glaze in tap water, and when the combo is wrong, inappropriate bonds form, causing the glaze to set up like concrete and become unusable.
Through the years, I have had a pottery studio in Minnesota, North Dakota, California, and Colorado. Using distilled water or club soda I have never had a problem with my glaze setting up and becoming ruined.
A gallon of distilled water is about $1… so worth the investment for your studio instead of ruing a $15 pint of glaze.
I hope this little trick helps you in your studio like it’s helped me through the years.
At Stone Leaf, we keep our glazes until the very end, adding distilled water to get every last bit of glaze out of the jar. This post was not paid for or sponsored by any glaze company OR the distilled water lobby.
Stone Leaf Pottery is conveniently located just 20 minutes from downtown Denver. On our shelves you’ll find a variety of glazes and underglazes from Amaco, Mayco, Duncan, Coyote, Spectrum, Laguna and more… but you’ll have to stop at your local grocer for distilled water.