ClayScapes is a medium-small glaze company located in New York. First, I’ll say it is a pleasure to work with everyone at ClayScapes. They are quick to respond, very knowledgeable, and eager to help with questions or challenges in glazing. Their prices are better than competitive.
Key information — if you brush your glazes on, you’ll have to alter some of ClayScapes pottery glazes, but ClayScapes is terrific at walking you through options. Pictured above, we used a number of the glazes here to show you how well they work together. The colors are stable and don’t move a lot. I’m betting ClayScapes staff could tell you how to make them move if you want that result.
ClayScapes is a family business well-established in the ceramic arts industry. They formulate two series of their own glazes, which are beautiful and easy to use. They also sell a number of Amaco products, tools, and clay. On their website, you’ll find a plethora of workshops and classes, as well. Some are hosted by Tim See, whose teaching style makes learning ceramics completely non-threatening and fun.
The ClayScapes Pottery Glazes We Sampled
Coastal Blue – a light to medium glossy blue
Wheat – just what you’d envision from the name
Bushwick – a stable, glossy, bright yellow
Cream – lovely, smooth, and well, creamy
Turquoise – lively dessert tone
Starry Night – a deep earth toned temmoku that flecks gold under certain conditions
Smokey Purple — sultry and stormy with a purple cast
Redhook — a nice, smooth, even red tinged to orange
This whole selection was chosen for me by Andrew. I’m loving the versatility.
What You Get When You Order
ClayScapes pottery glazes are bagged and then boxed, with clearly visible content labels.
You receive a sturdy plastic bag with all of the components required for a dipping consistency cone 5-6 glaze. With most colors, the different elements are blended in the bag at ClayScapes. There are a couple that you can obviously tell have not be pre-blended. For those, we took the bag outdoors or near our strong exhaust fan. We mixed the contents by gently agitating the powder in the closed and banded bag.
Our package included a ClayScapes web address where you can download complete measuring and mixing instructions as well as tips on how to use each glaze. There’s a pdf of hydrometer info online, as well.
Our ClayScapes Glaze Mixing Experience
The colors are pre-batched in minimum five pound quantities, which makes roughly a
gallon of most glazes. Since our home studio is small, we choose to mix in quart sizes.
With the instruction sheets provided, we were easily able to weigh out the proper amount of each mix and combine with the required water to make our small batches.
The glazes mixed up nicely, into smooth formulations. You must follow the directions to get good results, and that includes letting the mixtures rest overnight before you’re ready to use them. Work with a good mask or respirator when you’re working with any ceramic chemicals or formulations. Mix only in a well-ventilated area or take it all outside to do it.
These ClayScapes pottery glazes suspend readily into the water and stay suspended unless not used for several days. It’s no problem to remix them if they settle.
Our Glazing Experience
I don’t have room in our studio for dipping buckets, so I brush all my glazes. I’ll tell you that most of my glazing experience, before this year, has been with proprietary formulations in our school/community studio. We pretty much dip or pour those, but at home, I brush or sponge.
My first glaze fire with ClayScapes products produced some really beautiful results. We also saw some unanticipated effects. I observed some crawling, spotting, and pitting, I hopped on the phone with Andrew at ClayScapes to hash over my issues. He’s a great listener, and at no point did I feel talked down to or hurried. Andrew is all about solutions.
He suggested I add CMC gum to my mixtures to make them more brushable. I made the addition, following his directions. Problem solved, immediately and permanently. CMC is readily available at ceramic supply outlets. It’s inexpensive and very easy to use.
I have had no other issues with ClayScapes pottery glazes. They pour well, dip well, and, with the gum addition, brush on smoothly. They fire as expected. I’ve seen no other crawling or surface problems.
Since color is such a subjective topic, I’ll spare you a diatribe about which ones were my favorites. (Starry Night!) I will tell you that the color samples on the website give a fair idea of how the glaze will turn out. Be aware, as always, that your monitor or phone screen may change the color. Clay body and kiln heat affect results. If you have questions ClayScapes has a lively Facebook group where you can ask users about their own experiences.
We’ve been using these glazes for about three months in our home studio. I prefer them to the premixed commercial glazes — I can predict results better, in my opinion.
They are less expensive and the customer support is invaluable.
Shipping is quick.
Response is usually instantaneous. That’s important to us.
There is a wide variety of colors.
One thing we especially love, and what drew me to the company, is the color-combo emphasis on ClayScapes website. With a little thought, you can assemble a palette of five or six colors, and combine them in all sorts of ways to give you unlimited color effects. ClayScapes’s website has tons of combo ideas, as does the Facebook Group. They are totally into sharing combos — a great way to move your work into the next level. BTW, for more info on glaze combos, read HandbuildersMonthly on Ana Leal’s Amazing Glaze Combos.
Our bottom line opinion is that ClayScapes is a personal service business large enough to have a lot of experts at their disposal, but small enough to truly care about engaging with customers. We could tell, from our first encounter, that they were committed to our success and satisfaction. ClayScapes pottery glazes get our highest recommendation.