Glaze failure in the ceramics world is a word that often evokes disappointment and discouragement or what Matt calls “Post Firing Depression”. Much of the ceramics community glorifies success in pretty photoshopped magazines and books, and as a result, we tend to see our work as failures because they don’t look the same. However, it’s essential to recognize that failure is not the opposite of success; it’s a stepping stone toward it. Today, we’ll explore the concept of glaze failure, why it’s an integral part of the journey to ceramics success, and how you can embrace failure to help make your studio better.
The Nature of Failure
Failure is a natural part of ceramics. We’ve all been there. You make the perfect pot, glaze it with your favorite glaze and pop it into the kiln. After firing, you hold your breath when opening the kiln hoping for the best. Many times, it is not what you expected. Your pot may have cracked, the glaze can be a completely different color or maybe have pinholes or crazing. There are so many glaze flaws that can manifest in different forms that glaze failure is inevitable. However, it’s important to realize that your failures are not a dead-end but a detour on the road to success.
One of the most powerful aspects of failure during glaze testing is the opportunity to learn. When you test, you gain valuable insights and experiences that can’t be acquired through glaze success alone. Taking the time to review your glaze test results and identifying what went right or wrong will guide you how to do things differently next time.
To truly embrace glaze testing failure, you need to change your perspective on it. Instead of viewing it as something to be avoided, try seeing it as a necessary and valuable part of your glaze testing process. Here are a few tips to help you embrace your failures:
Reframe Your Mindset: Shift your perspective from viewing glaze testing failures as a negative outcome to seeing it as a positive learning experience.
Set Realistic Expectations: Understand that all glazes tests are part of the testing process. Set realistic expectations and be prepared to encounter challenges.
Review Your Results: Actively test and document your glaze test failures and use them to improve.
Stay Persistent: Remember that glaze testing failures don’t define you. Stay persistent and continue working towards your goals with what you’ve learned and determination.
Surround Yourself with Support: Look to our amazing ceramics community and consider taking one of our courses. Both can help you navigate the ups and downs of your glaze journey.
Glaze failures are an important part of the road to successful ceramic making. It’s through our failures that we learn, grow, and ultimately achieve our vision. Instead of fearing failure, we should embrace it as a valuable teacher and a stepping stone toward success. So, the next time you encounter a glaze failure, remember that it’s not the end; it’s just a detour on your way to success. Embrace it, learn from it, and use it as a catalyst for growth.
If you are interested in taking one of our courses to help you on your glaze journey, check out our “Which course should I take?” on our website. One great option is Understanding Glazes which is our most comprehensive glaze course that dives into chemistry, heat and temperature, glaze formulas, flaws and how to correct them. It is open to all levels of students that want to learn how to take control of their making process no matter where in the world they are located!
And just remember what Rose always says to do and keep on “Test, Test, Test-Ing”!