CM's Guide to Materials & Glazes

Since it was first published in 1953, a primary goal of Ceramics Monthly magazine has been to illustrate and explain the technical aspects of ceramic art so that an individual in a studio has a high chance for success. This book has been compiled from ...(Scroll for more.)


Available as a PDF only!

Download a snippet!

Softcover | 165 Pages
Order code B136 | ISBN 978-1-57498-377-7

…years of technical explanation and reference material from Ceramics Monthly, and will help you interpret results in your own studio, assess recipes from others for possible use, and pursue new ideas with knowledge and confidence.

Materials demystified!

Typically in early ceramics classes, we get a basic explanation of what glazes are and how they work, and typically we experience frustration when a glaze doesn’t turn out the way it looked on the test tile or in the photo in the magazine. There are so many factors affecting specific outcomes that it can be overwhelming to try to decipher why a particular glaze failed, but understanding materials is one of the keys to uncovering the mystery. That’s why this guide starts out with a section called “Understanding Materials.” This section is loaded with information on the various components that make up glazes. If you’ve been flummoxed by fluxes, feldspars, or other common glaze materials, these detailed explanations will help you figure them out.

Knowledge is power!

Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the materials in section one, it’s time to expand on that knowledge and delve a little deeper into the ceramic process. From heatwork to glaze fit, Ceramics Monthly’s techno-experts explain the concepts that will help you achieve success. It’s one thing to generally understand what a material does, but how does the particle size (mesh size) of that material affect the fired surface? John Britt explains that size does matter and could be the difference between a shiny glaze and a crusty matte glaze. Wondering why your glaze results are inconsistent from batch to batch? Richard Eppler and Mimi Obstler explain rheology and the key to consistent glazes. Have you ever wanted to experiment with single firing (i.e. skipping the bisque)? Steven Hill has done it for years and shares advice and his firing schedule to help you decide if it’s right for you.

Recipes, research, and techniques

Now for the really fun part. The previous technical sections can take some time to digest, but section three is an inspiring collection of recipes, techniques, and research (not to mention beautiful photographs of finished work) from practicing studio artists who have done their homework (and their work shows it). Organized by firing temperature – Low, Mid, and High – you’ll be able to hone in on what interests you and start experimenting. And the best part is, your tests will be backed by the great advice from each artist in this section. If you’ve been interested in majolica glazing, Linda Arbuckle, one of the foremost majolica artists practicing today, shares her recipes and information on colorants, application, and firing and more so that you can start off on the right foot. If you are interested in atmospheric effects but are firing cone 6 electric, Steven Hill shares how he has learned to fake the atmospheric look by spraying glazes and controlling the heating and cooling processes. High-fire crystalline glazes are notoriously tricky, but are undeniably gorgeous. If you want to explore this technique, you’ll definitely want to be armed with the information Diane Creber shares, from avoiding kiln shelf disasters from these fluid glazes to strike firing (firing multiple times) to enhance results.


Being able to troubleshoot glaze flaws is critical to success. The final section of this book includes information to help you avoid common glaze flaws and correct them when they do happen. Many of the common glaze flaws can be avoided by simple changes in application and the information in this section will save you a lot of headaches!

Don’t let glazes get you down!

Testing, exploration, and experimentation are at the core of artistic discovery, and this volume is a resource for understanding common ceramic materials and their characteristics. Full of practical, applicable information you can put to use every day in your studio, it will help you bring your own ideas from inspiration to reality!


Enter Your Log In Credentials
This setting should only be used on your home or work computer.

Larger version of the image