While recently developing layered combinations of glazes for a large dinnerware set, I discovered a technique using earplugs to efficiently glaze noodle/rice bowls.

Begin by throwing a good size bowl form. Let it dry to hard leather hard and use a Kemper drill tool to make two holes to hold chopsticks (1). Size the holes to accept the chopsticks you plan to use, allowing for shrinkage. Place the holes about 1 inch apart and ¾ inch down from the rim. When bone dry, bisque fire the bowl.

After waxing the foot, use glaze tongs to do a quick in-and-out dip into your first glaze (2). As soon as the glaze is dry to the touch, I use liquid wax to add resist decoration (3). Since I’m employing a wax-resist design only to the outside of the bowl and only want to apply a second layer of glaze to the exterior, the two little chopstick holes become a problem as glaze will flow through the holes into the interior of the bowl when making the second dip. In a single flash of uncharacteristic brilliance, I had the idea to use those disposable little foam earplugs to plug the holes.

1 Use a Kemper drill tool to create chopstick holes sized for shrinkage. 2 Dip the entire bowl quickly in the first glaze using tongs.

As soon as the wax decoration dries, insert the foam earplugs into the holes (4) and do a second quick dip on the outside surface, to the top edge of the rim (5). Remove the earplugs while the glaze is still wet. When the glaze has dried, clean the foot, then the bowl is ready for the final glaze firing.

3 Apply wax resist in a pattern using a deer-tail brush. 4 Roll the earplugs to compress, insert them into the chopstick holes, and pull them through to ensure a snug fit.

Dan Ingersoll taught K–12 art in the public school system for 30 years (17 of them teaching high-school ceramics). Following retirement, for 3 years, he was a lecturer in art education at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire. He is currently retired and pursuing his passion for clay in a small basement studio and wood firing with a fellow potter. His work has been shown on both a regional and national level.