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Multiple Glaze Teapots

Techniques for glazing teapots.

Husband and wife team Halona Gustin and Flynn Sochon create their art together. They combine hand-building and wheel-throwing techniques to create beautiful one-of-a-kind stoneware teapots, bowls, vases and platters. Their styles are both traditional as well as contemporary. Some of their images are recognizable, while others use the glaze to create abstract designs. On the show, Flynn creates one of his whimsical ornate teapots with a hand-built body and wheel thrown pieces. Flynn and Halona will decorate them together with multiple glazing techniques.

They first create the basic shape of the pot with a raw piece of slab clay, using the slab roller to roll it out like a sheet of cookie dough. The clay is then cut down to its desired size using a fettling knife. When the clay becomes leather hard, they form the clay pieces into the body of the teapot by hand. Next, the legs of the pot and the handles are added. The legs are made with small coils of clay. The coils are rolled out, curled, shaped, and then attached to the body with slip. Now, the spout of the teapot and the lid of the pot are thrown on the potter's wheel. The clay must dry for several days until it is bone dry.

Once dry, the piece must undergo a bisque firing at 1800 F degrees for 12 to 14 hours. Then it has to cool down for 24 hours before the next step can be taken, and it is ready for glazing. A liquid wax resist is applied with a small brush to the bottom of the piece to repel the glaze. Then a glaze is mixed (of clay, stains, and glass components) using a hand drill or hand mixer, and then the pot is dipped into the glaze. After it dries for a few minutes, liquid wax is again applied as a decorative technique to repel the second color of glaze. Washes such as iron wash and rutile wash are applied with a brush. The last step of the glazing process is to apply a paste of wood ash on the pot. This helps the glazes melt and run into each other. It's fired in the kiln at 2300 F degrees for about 16 hours and cooled for another 24.

Opening the kiln is like Christmas. It's the first time wonderful treasures are revealed. This is when you can finally see if the glazes melted together as desired or if something else fascinating happened during the firing. It is always a beautiful surprise.

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