How many of us have taken time to learn pottery glazing science? Glaze calculation can drive you bonkers when you’re unsure of the chemistry and science. On the other hand, the idea of science can be daunting.
If you’re serious about formulating glazes in your studio or community studio, you might want to check into an online course we found. Matthew Katz at Ceramic Materials Workshops has what you might need.
We reached out to Pete Berg, a ceramicist who has taken every class offered by CMW. Here’s Pete’s general review of his experience.
“I found Matt’s courses to be largely helpful for making quality work, and he does a great job of promoting responsible production of ware and glazes. The first class I took was about three years ago. There’s a lot of information, and misinformation, out there, but I found his classes to be spot on. If something lacked the research for a clear definition, he was upfront about it, and would go so far as to help guide the research to discover it,” Pete said.
I asked Pete if there was a downside to these courses. His reply really struck a chord with me.
He said, “Finding time to take the courses and be engaged was challenging for me, and reading is always one of the biggest challenges. But the teaching method is light and engaging, and I think it speaks to a variety of people. It’s difficult to make the time, but I’ve not spoken to a single former student of his who regrets the decision.”
Pete’s favorite part of the experience has been getting clear and concise information. In his experience, if info was not readily visible, Matt helped guide students to find the answers.
Pete was formerly a studio potter. He ‘has become a ceramic engineer working in industrial ceramics. He told us, “After taking these courses, I have gained much more control over my work. It’s less up to the whims of the kiln gods, and more in my hands. Of course, there’s still plenty to be discovered, and some unexpected twists and turns, but these courses leave you with the skills necessary to navigate those issues.”
Some courses and workshops target beginners, but Pete has travelled a deep path of ceramic learning. He, like many of us, has taken other workshops, studied ceramics in college, and read every book and technical manual he could get his hands on.
He says, “A lot of what’s out there is ‘try it and see what happens.’ Matt’s approach is well thought out—utilizing the scientific method and backing up his theories with data. Before this scares anyone off, let me say again, the approach is accessible to potters of varying skills, backgrounds, and knowledge. It’s also quite helpful to have a knowledgeable instructor to explain what’s in some of the technical books and manuals.”
Overall, Pete concluded that the value of the knowledge gained from Matt’s courses surpassed the monetary and time investment needed to take them.
If this sounds like it’s a good match for your ceramics journey, keep reading. Handbuilders Monthly gives you the details on Matt’s latest courses.
Matt’s Latest Pottery Glazing Science Classes Online
Next class begins October 1.
We at Handbuilders Monthly have not taken the class. The presenters say it’s suitable for all experience levels and your clay firing temperature is not an issue. The discussion is about glazes in their entirety. Apparently the full pottery glazing science class covers the following
- Materials of glazing
- Glaze flaws
- and other topics
How to Learn Pottery Glazing Science Online
The full length course, Glaze Calculation, is fourteen on-demand lectures — sixty to ninety minutes duration, online. This full course includes bi-weekly discussions along with lab experiments, readings, discussion boards, and a copy of the lecture notes. Price point is $500.
You can register for the lectures only at $300. We spoke with Matthew Katz and he offered our readers a discount coupon of 5% with the code HANDBUILDERSMONTHLY.
We found a complimentary sample video lesson on the site. It seemed interesting, factual, and accessible, even for those of us (that would be me) who are skittish about heavy science.
A Softer Version of Pottery Glazing Science
There’s a way to put your toes in slowly. Matt offers a workshop called Glaze of Our Lives: Understanding Glazes for the Beginner.
There’s a ton of material in this pottery glazing science workshop. Looks like artists beyond beginner might find it worth their time and resources. The workshop price point is $100 but our coupon code HANDBUILDERSMONTHLY gets you a half price entry.
Glaze of Our Lives is twelve hours of on-demand content that you can watch over and over forever — or at least as long as the content is online. If you want to know more about how glazes are made, how to use them effectively, and how they work, the workshop should help you out. They do some myth debunking, too, which is always edifying.
If you have had experience with these pottery glazing science classes, take a minute to let us know in the comments!
Read more about Glazes and Glazing? John Britt talks to HandbuildersMonthly.com