Dipping pots in glaze can be challenging at times—especially when you can’t hold onto a foot ring. Glazing tongs can leave unpleasant marks on the glaze surface and requires some clean up. While browsing the June/July/August issue of Ceramics Monthly, I stumbled upon Joe Thompson’s brilliant glaze dipping hack: the car dent puller! Joe uses the small suction device to hold onto his pots while glazing. Simply brilliant! –Jennifer Poellot Harnetty, editor.
There are many situations where you want to dip a piece in slip or glaze without using tongs or your fingers to keep hold of it including greenware being glazed for a single firing, a piece that’s too wide or awkward to safely grip, or pieces that you don’t want to have tong or finger marks in the glaze.
My glaze dipping solution is to use a car dent puller. They’re small suction devices designed to, as the name indicates, pull dents out of car bodywork. The good news for ceramic artists is that they have a comfortable handle attached to a powerful suction cup, and they’re well suited to gripping pots. I use the smallest one I could find, which is 2½ inches (6 cm) in diameter, and have tested it holding pots that weigh up to 11 pounds (5 kg). As long as the seal is good, it should be able to comfortably hold most pieces.
To use the dent puller when glazing, make sure the bottom of your piece is relatively smooth and apply wax resist to a flat area a little bigger than your dent puller. The wax resist is important as the puller can’t create suction on the porous clay surface. Add a little water to the suction cup and position the puller centrally on the piece, then press it firmly down and move the lever to attach (1). Check that it is securely attached, then dip as normal (2). Remove the dent puller when the piece is dry enough to handle without disturbing the glaze.