Exploring the Art of Special Pottery Glazing

It’s an intricate part of pottery that elevates its visual appeal. Pottery Glazing, when done using unique methods, can turn an ordinary piece of clay into an extraordinary work of pottery. Artists often search for and experiment with Special Pottery Glazing Techniques to make their pieces stand out.

Why did the potter get kicked out of the art show? Go to the bottom of the page for the answer!

1 Dripping or PouringLiquid glaze is poured over the pottery piece, creating organic and fluid patterns.
2 SprayingGlaze is atomized and sprayed onto the pottery, often using an airbrush for even distribution.
3 SplatteringLiquid glaze is flicked or splashed onto the pottery for a random, speckled effect.
4 BrushingApplication of glaze with brushes, allowing for detailed and varied designs.
5 StrippingUsing tools or brushes to create striped patterns on the pottery piece.
6 Glaze TrailingSqueezing or drizzling glaze over the surface to create raised patterns or lines.
7 SpongingApplying glaze with a sponge, resulting in a textured pattern reminiscent of the sponge’s surface.
8 FeatheringTwo or more glazes are applied and then swirled with a feather or brush, creating marbled or intertwined designs.
9 StencilingUsing cut-out patterns to apply glaze in specific shapes or designs.
10 StampingApplying glaze using carved stamps or objects, imprinting their patterns onto the surface.

1 Dripping or Pouring

When it comes to glazing techniques, Dripping or Pouring holds a special place. It’s one of those techniques that combines the precision of the craft with a touch of unpredictability.

The Basics of the Technique

Dripping or pouring involves taking liquid glaze and literally pouring it over your pottery piece. Think of it like drizzling chocolate over strawberries. You have control over the angle and speed of your pour, but once that glaze hits the pottery, it takes on a life of its own.

Why Choose Dripping or Pouring?

This method is fantastic for achieving organic and fluid patterns. Since the glaze flows freely, it often results in natural gradients and transitions that are hard to achieve through other methods. It’s also a bit freeing, letting go and watching the glaze flow, knowing you can’t control every inch of its path.

My Tips for Success

  1. Consistency is Key – The thickness of your glaze can greatly influence the end result. A thinner glaze tends to flow more, while a thicker one might give you a bit more control.
  2. Elevate Your Piece – By raising your pottery off your workspace, you allow excess glaze to drip off instead of pooling around the base.
  3. Practice Makes Perfect – Like anything, the more you practice, the better you’ll get. Experiment with different pouring speeds and angles until you find what works best for you.

I say, while the dripping or pouring technique may sound simple, it offers a world of possibilities for creating unique designs on pottery. Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned potter, there’s always something new to discover with this method.

2 Spraying

When I dive into the world of pottery glazing, Spraying emerges as a technique that offers both precision and a sort of fine-tuned chaos, all at once.

What is Spraying?

In the realm of pottery glazing, spraying is exactly what it sounds like. Instead of manually applying the glaze with brushes or other tools, you use a spray gun or an airbrush to apply it. This method distributes the glaze in fine particles, resulting in a smooth, even coat on the pottery.

The Appeal of Spraying

One of the biggest advantages of this technique is the ability to achieve incredibly even coatings. Especially on large pieces or pieces with intricate details, getting an even glaze by hand can be challenging. Spraying helps mitigate this problem. Moreover, it’s fantastic for layering different colors or achieving gradient effects. You can blend colors seamlessly, moving from one hue to another without the hard lines that brushes can sometimes leave behind.

A Few Pointers for Spraying Glazes

  1. Safety First – Always wear a mask. When you spray glaze, tiny particles can become airborne, and you definitely don’t want to inhale them.
  2. Test First – Before you commit to spraying your main piece, always test on a sample tile. This gives you a feel for the spray gun’s pressure and the glaze’s behavior.
  3. Clean Equipment – Ensure your spray gun or airbrush is thoroughly cleaned after each use. Residue buildup can affect the next glazing job and potentially clog your equipment.

All in all, according to my experience, spraying is a versatile technique in pottery glazing. It can be as basic or as intricate as you want, depending on your vision for the finished piece. Whether you’re going for a simple, even coat or layered, complex designs, spraying offers the flexibility to bring your creative vision to life.


Delving into the technique of Splattering, one quickly realizes it’s an avenue where controlled randomness meets art. It’s all about letting go and allowing the unpredictability of the glaze to create something unique. reminds me of Jackson Pollock, ha!

Jackson Pollock’s iconic style of dripping and splattering paint onto his canvas from above is a perfect parallel. His approach, often referred to as “action painting,” involved letting the paint land where it may, allowing for an organic and spontaneous creation.

In pottery, the splattering technique is much the same. It’s about relinquishing some control, letting the glaze fall naturally, and embracing the unpredictability of the result. Just as Pollock’s paintings evoke emotion and movement, a splattered glaze on pottery can convey energy, dynamism, and a unique personality for each piece. It’s that very randomness and individuality that makes both Pollock’s art and splattered pottery so captivating.

What is Splattering?

Splattering is a glazing technique where glaze is flicked, thrown, or drizzled onto a piece of pottery. The resulting effect is a series of random patterns and splashes. Think of it as an abstract painter letting the paint dictate the flow on the canvas, only here, it’s with glaze on pottery.

The Charm of Splattering

What makes splattering so attractive is its spontaneity. Each splatter mark is distinct, making every pottery piece genuinely one-of-a-kind. Whether it’s big, bold splashes or fine, delicate speckles, the technique can cater to various artistic expressions.

Techniques and Tips for Splattering

  1. The Right Consistency – The glaze should be neither too thick nor too thin. A thick glaze won’t splatter as effectively, while a too-thin glaze might run more than desired.
  2. Tools of the Trade – While many simply use their fingers to flick the glaze, brushes, sponges, and even toothbrushes can be employed to achieve different splatter effects.
  3. Layering – Splattering doesn’t have to be a one-and-done deal. You can layer different colors or splatter over other glazing techniques to add depth and complexity to your piece.

Splattering is all about embracing the unexpected. It’s a reminder that sometimes, in both art and life, the most beautiful outcomes can come from letting go and enjoying the process. Maybe, that’s what Jackson was feeling, ha!


Brushing is one of the most traditional and intimate methods of applying glaze to pottery. It’s an art form that’s as much about the journey as it is about the destination.

The Essence of Brushing

At its core, brushing is about connecting with the pottery piece, using brushes to glide the glaze over the surface. The motion is rhythmic, and there’s a kind of dance between the brush, glaze, and clay. It’s an opportunity to express oneself, to tell a story or convey a mood.

Variability and Versatility

One of the biggest draws of brushing is its versatility. Depending on the type of brush and the technique used, an artist can achieve a range of effects, from broad, sweeping strokes to intricate details. There’s the freedom to layer, blend, and experiment with patterns. By adjusting the pressure or changing the brush type, you can manipulate how the glaze interacts with the pottery’s surface.

Brush Types and Their Impact

There are countless brushes available, each designed for specific tasks. For instance, hake brushes are excellent for broad strokes and covering large areas. Detail brushes, on the other hand, allow for intricate work and precision. Fan brushes can be used for soft shading or creating texture. The choice of brush can dramatically alter the final appearance of the glazed pottery.

Challenges and Rewards

Brushing does come with its challenges. It requires a steady hand and patience, especially when aiming for consistency. But therein lies its beauty. The imperfections, the subtle variations in stroke width, and the depth of glaze application all contribute to a piece’s unique character. You can quote me, “Every stroke adds to the narrative, culminating in a finished piece that’s a testament to both skill and passion.


Oh, boy, what a topic.

Why did the potter get kicked out of art class?

For stripping… the glaze off his pot!

Alright, let’s delve into stripping. No, not that kind of stripping, ha! In the world of pottery glazing, stripping refers to a technique where lines or stripes of glaze are applied to a piece. It’s a fascinating approach that can bring out the best in a ceramic creation.

The Art of Linearity

Stripping is all about linear designs and the precision they bring to a piece. These lines can be thick, thin, wavy, straight, or anything in between. They can run horizontally, vertically, or even diagonally across a piece, providing a dynamic visual appeal.

Tools of the Trade

The primary tool for stripping is, of course, a brush. However, the type of brush you choose plays a significant role in the outcome. Fine-tipped brushes are great for delicate, thin lines, while broader brushes are used for thicker, more pronounced stripes. Some artists even employ squeeze bottles with fine tips or other unconventional tools to get the exact look they’re aiming for.

Combining with Other Techniques

One of the beautiful things about stripping is how well it pairs with other glazing techniques. For instance, you could have a pot that’s been dipped in one color of glaze and then add stripes of another color. Or, perhaps you’ve used a sponging method to create a background texture, and then you lay down some strategic stripes to accentuate certain areas.

Tips for Stripping Success

In my experience, to achieve crisp lines, it’s essential to have a steady hand. If you’re aiming for straight lines, it might help to use a guide or even some masking techniques to keep the glaze where you want it. Remember, the thickness of the glaze can also affect the final appearance. A thin line might come out more delicate after firing, while a thick one could result in a more bold and pronounced stripe.

Glaze Trailing

So, glaze trailing is genuinely one of those techniques that can transform a piece from plain to captivating.

What is Glaze Trailing?

In its essence, glaze trailing is the process of applying glaze in decorative patterns onto bisque ware or already glazed pottery. Think of it like piping icing onto a cake. The glaze is typically placed in a bottle with a nozzle or sometimes even a slip trailer, and it’s squeezed out to create intricate designs or simple dots and lines.

The Beauty of Control

One of the coolest things about glaze trailing is the amount of control it offers. Since you’re using a bottle or a tool, you can decide the flow of the glaze. You can opt for thicker lines, thinner ones, or a combination of both. This precision allows for some genuinely creative designs.

Combining with Other Techniques

Mixing glaze trailing with other techniques can produce some striking effects. For example, you could first brush on a base glaze and then trail over it with a contrasting color. Or, after the trailing, you might choose to sponge away certain parts, leading to a more distressed or antique look.

Challenges and Tips

Like all things pottery, glaze trailing does come with its learning curve. The key is to ensure the glaze’s consistency is just right. If it’s too thick, it won’t flow easily, but if it’s too thin, it might run and ruin your design. Also, practicing on test tiles before moving on to your main piece can save a lot of heartaches.

The Outcome

Once your pottery goes through the firing process, the trailed glaze can create a raised effect, adding texture to the finished piece. The result? A tactile and visual experience that stands out.


So, sponging is one of those techniques that, at first glance, might seem pretty straightforward. I mean, it’s just using a sponge, right? But when it comes to pottery, this method can elevate a piece in ways that are genuinely fascinating.

The Basics of Sponging

When we talk about sponging in pottery, we’re referring to the technique of using a sponge to apply or remove glaze from a piece of pottery. Depending on how you use it, sponging can either add texture to your work or smooth out imperfections.

Why Use a Sponge?

Sponges are super versatile. They can hold a decent amount of glaze, which means you can cover large areas quickly. But beyond that, the natural irregularities in a sponge’s surface can add a unique texture to your piece, giving it a rustic, earthy feel. If you’re going for a more polished look, sponging can help achieve that too by smoothing out the glaze and removing any excess.

Combining Sponging with Other Techniques

Here’s where things get fun. Imagine you’ve just brushed on some glaze, and while it’s still wet, you use a sponge to dab away certain parts. This creates a beautiful layered effect, revealing the base layer beneath. Sponging can also be used after techniques like glaze trailing to create depth and variation in the design.

Different Sponges, Different Effects

There’s a world of sponges out there. From the natural sea sponges, which are excellent for textured effects, to synthetic ones for smoother finishes, the sponge you choose can drastically alter your piece’s final look.

My Tips

One thing to remember is always to wet your sponge slightly before using it. This ensures that it doesn’t pull too much glaze off and gives you more control over the process. And, like any technique, practice makes perfect. Playing around with different sponges and glazes on test pieces can help you nail the look you’re going for. Sponging isn’t just about dabbing a sponge on pottery. It’s a thoughtful, deliberate technique that, when done right, can produce some seriously stunning results. And honestly, the beauty lies in its simplicity and the organic touch it adds to every piece.


Feathering is such an elegant technique in pottery, isn’t it? The name alone conjures up images of delicate patterns that seem to flow effortlessly across the surface of a piece. When it’s done right, it’s nothing short of mesmerizing.

The Basics of Feathering

Feathering, in the pottery world, involves creating intricate patterns by dragging a tool or brush through wet slip or glazes that have been applied in layers or side by side. It’s like marbling, but with a particular direction and intention.

Why Go for Feathering?

This technique shines when you’re looking to create dynamic and flowing designs on your pottery piece. Because the patterns are created while the slip or glaze is still wet, they have this beautiful, seamless blend where one color flows into the next. It’s an excellent method for potters who want to add a touch of movement and elegance to their work.

Techniques Within Feathering

While feathering is a broad technique, there are different ways to approach it. For instance:

  • Dragged Feathering – This involves dragging a tool in a straight line through your glaze or slip. It’s simple but can create strikingly elegant designs, especially when you play with different colors.
  • Wavy Feathering – Rather than dragging straight, why not add a little wiggle to your lines? The result is a design that feels fluid and dynamic.
  • Comb-Through Feathering – Using a tool like a comb can produce multiple lines simultaneously. It’s almost hypnotic.

Making It Your Own

While the basic techniques remain the same, feathering offers a lot of room for personal expression. The colors you choose, the thickness of your lines, the type of tool you use, even the speed at which you drag, all these factors can significantly influence your final result.


Stenciling in pottery is a fantastic way to add detailed designs to your pieces without needing the steady hand of a master artist. If you’ve ever wanted to replicate a design consistently or use a complex pattern that would be tough to paint freehand, stenciling is your best friend.

What’s the Deal with Stenciling?

At its core, stenciling is about using templates to create designs. You place a stencil on your pottery piece, and then you apply glaze, slip, or underglaze over it. When you remove the stencil, voila, you have your design! It’s that simple and yet incredibly versatile.

Why Use Stenciling?

The real charm of stenciling is precision. Getting a design right repeatedly, especially if it’s complex, is challenging when done freehand. But with a stencil, you get consistency without compromising on detail. It’s also a massive time-saver, especially when you’re working on a series of pieces and want them to have a uniform design element.

Tips and Tricks for Effective Stenciling

  • Material Matters – The choice of stencil material can vary. Some potters use plastic sheets while others prefer paper. The key is to ensure it’s durable enough for your application but also flexible enough to conform to the shape of your pottery.
  • Application Technique – How you apply the material over the stencil can affect the result. Whether you’re brushing, sponging, or spraying, always make sure to hold the stencil firmly to prevent any smudging.
  • Experiment with Layering – Stencils don’t have to be a one-and-done deal. Layering multiple stencils can give depth and complexity to your designs. Imagine a forest scene where you stencil the background trees first, then the mid-ground, and finally the foreground.


Stamping on pottery is one of those techniques that can instantly bring a piece to life. With the right stamp, you can transform an ordinary vessel into a work of art that tells a story. Let’s dive deeper into the wonderful world of pottery stamping.

The Basics of Stamping

So, what is stamping all about? In essence, it’s about imprinting a design or pattern onto your clay piece using a tool or object. This could be anything from a specially carved wooden stamp to something as simple as a leaf or lace.

Why Choose Stamping?

There’s something inherently satisfying about seeing a clear, crisp pattern transferred onto a soft clay surface. Stamping offers an opportunity to bring texture and design to your pottery in a very tangible way. Plus, it’s a quick method to add intricate designs without spending hours carving or etching.

Tips for Perfect Stamping

  • The Right Consistency – It’s crucial to stamp your pottery when it’s at the right stage. Leather hard clay is often the best, as it’s firm enough to retain the design but soft enough to take the impression.
  • Variety of Stamps – Don’t limit yourself to commercial pottery stamps. Explore your surroundings. Nature is filled with potential stamps: leaves, shells, and even fruits can leave exciting impressions.
  • Depth Matters – Pressing too hard can cause the clay to deform, while too light of a touch might not leave a clear impression. It might take a bit of practice to get the pressure just right.

How does the glaze thickness affect the overall look of a clay piece?

When we talk about glazing, we’re basically discussing the application of a liquid suspension of minerals onto the surface of a clay piece. This suspension will melt in the kiln, forming a glassy layer on the pottery. The thickness of this layer can significantly influence the final color, texture, and visual depth of the piece.

Effects of Glaze Thickness

  1. Color Variation: A thin glaze application might result in a paler, more muted color, while a thicker application could give a deeper, richer hue. Some glazes even break, or change color, based on their thickness, showing one shade where thick and another where thin.
  2. Texture: The glaze’s thickness can influence the texture of the final piece. A thickly applied glaze might pool or gather in crevices, creating a more varied and tactile surface. Conversely, if a glaze is too thick, it might run during firing, leading to drips or even glaze running off the piece entirely!
  3. Visual Depth: A thicker glaze can give a sense of depth, especially if it’s translucent. The light can penetrate the glaze, bounce off the clay beneath, and pass back through the glaze, giving a luminous quality. Thinner glazes might not achieve this effect as prominently.
  4. Glaze Faults: Applying glaze too thickly can lead to various glaze faults. Pinholing, crazing, and shivering are some issues that can arise from an uneven or overly thick glaze application.

Striking the Right Balance

It’s a bit of an art to get the glaze thickness just right. You’ve got to consider the type of glaze, the firing temperature, and the specific look you’re going for. Test tiles are a potter’s best friend here. By making test tiles and varying the glaze thickness, you can see how a particular glaze behaves and adjust your application technique accordingly. In my experience, understanding how glaze thickness affects the final appearance of a piece is a mix of science, experience, and a dash of intuition.

Is it possible to combine two types of glazes to create unique effects on ceramic objects?

Combining different glazes is a popular and creative way to achieve unique and often unexpected results on ceramic objects. This method is known as “glaze layering” or “overlapping glazes.” When done intentionally and thoughtfully, it can yield some stunning effects.

Benefits of Combining Glazes

  1. Depth and Complexity: Layering glazes can add depth to a piece, creating an intricate and complex surface that wouldn’t be possible with just one glaze.
  2. Unique Colors: When two glazes meld in the kiln, they can produce colors that neither glaze could achieve on its own.
  3. Textural Effects: Some glazes will react with one another to produce interesting textural effects, like bubbling, crawling, or crusting.

Considerations for Layering Glazes

  1. Compatibility: Not all glazes play well together. Some might run too much when combined, while others might not melt sufficiently to blend. It’s essential to understand the properties of the glazes you’re working with.
  2. Test First: Always run tests before applying combined glazes to a significant or important piece. This will give you an idea of how the glazes interact and what the end result might look like.
  3. Application Order: Sometimes, the order in which you apply the glazes can affect the outcome. For instance, a certain effect might be achieved by applying glaze A over glaze B, but you might get a different result if you reverse the order.
  4. Application Technique: How you apply each glaze can also impact the final look. Brushing, dipping, pouring, or spraying can each yield different results.
  5. Firing Temperature: Glazes can react differently at various temperatures. You might want to consider adjusting the firing temperature slightly to see if it produces a better result with combined glazes.

Some Popular Layering Techniques

  1. Wax Resist: Apply wax to certain areas of the piece, then apply a second glaze. The areas with wax will resist the second glaze, allowing the first glaze to show through.
  2. Sgraffito: Apply a second glaze over the first and then scratch or carve through the top layer to reveal the first glaze underneath.
  3. Dipping: Dip a part of your pottery piece in a second glaze, allowing it to overlap with the first.

Combining glazes is like a delightful experiment. You’re never quite sure what you’ll get, and sometimes, the results can be breathtaking. It’s one of those areas in pottery where the magic of chemistry and artistry come together in a beautiful dance. Always exciting to see what comes out of the kiln!

FAQ Section

Q: What are the unique techniques for pottery glazing?
A: Some unique techniques include the use of wax resist, sgraffito, crackle glazing, and layering multiple glazes. Each technique offers a distinct texture and finish to the pottery piece.

Q: What are the three methods of glazing?
A: The three primary methods of glazing are dipping, brushing, and spraying. Dipping involves submerging the pottery in a glaze, brushing is done with a glaze-loaded brush, and spraying employs a sprayer to evenly coat the pottery with glaze.

Q: What are the styles of glazing?
A: Glazing styles can range from matte to glossy, and from monochromatic to multi-colored. Some popular styles include Celadon (translucent and pale), Tenmoku (dark and glossy), and Raku (characterized by crackle patterns and smoky hues).

Q: How do you glaze pottery like a pro?
A: Glazing like a pro requires practice, a deep understanding of glaze chemistry, and the ability to control the application. Professionals often test new glazes and combinations, keep meticulous records of their processes, and may even create their own custom glazes.

Q: What is the wax resist technique?
A: The wax resist technique involves applying a wax substance to specific areas of the pottery where you do not want the glaze to adhere. Once the glaze is applied, the areas covered in wax resist remain unglazed.

Q: How does sgraffito work in glazing?
A: Sgraffito involves applying a thick layer of glaze and then scratching away parts of it to create a design. The revealed clay body contrasts with the glazed areas, creating intricate patterns or images.

Q: Can I layer different glazes?
A: Yes, layering different glazes can create unique and complex surface textures and colors. However, it’s crucial to test the glazes for compatibility before applying them to your final piece.

Q: What is the importance of glaze thickness?
A: The thickness of the glaze can significantly affect the final appearance. Too thin, and the glaze may not fully develop its color; too thick, and it might run off the pottery or create unsightly clumps.

Q: Can I add texture to my glaze?
A: Absolutely, textures can be added by using additives like sand or grog, or by manipulating the glaze application with techniques like dabbing or stippling.

Q: How can I create a crackle effect with glaze?
A: Crackle glazes are designed to “craze” or crack upon cooling, creating a network of fine lines in the glaze. The crackle effect is achieved by using a specialized crackle glaze and following specific firing schedules.

Why did the potter get kicked out of the art show?

Because he just kept “glazing” over the details!


The Potter’s Book of Glaze Recipes, The Potter’s Book of Glaze Recipes is a must for potters and ceramicists of all abilities interested in creating their own glazes.

Glazes from Natural Sources: A Working Handbook for Potters, This is a new, revised, and updated edition of Brian Sutherland’s classic book on making glazes from natural sources, such as trees, plants, and stones. This book provides unique insight into creating glazes from natural sources, offering a different perspective on the art of glazing.

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