In respect to both do-it-yourself glazes and commercial glazes, potters have more choices than ever before in what glazes they can use on their pots. Sharing DIY glaze recipes has progressively gotten easier. Commercial glaze manufacturers have introduced innovative processes that can only be created in an industrial setting, in order to produce a greater range of glazes.
DIY Glaze Cons
- Making your own glaze does require training or self-directed study, plus experience.
- You will need a highly accurate set of scales, either triple-beam or digital, mixing attachments for a drill, material containers and bins, screens, and space that can be set aside as a glaze room.
- If you will be formulating and developing your own glazes, you may also want a test kiln.
- Especially with low-temperature glazes, there is a higher probability of exposure to toxic substances, in both raw and fritted forms.
- Glaze ingredients will be limited to the eighty or so commercially available major ingredients and whatever ingredients you may process your self from local materials (such as clays, wood ashes, and so forth).
Commercial Glaze Cons
- You run the distinct risk that your pots will look like everyone else's.
- Glaze colors are often harsh and rather garish.
- You are limited to what the manufacturers produce.
DIY Glaze Pros
- If you work in the mid- to high-fire ranges, it will be more economical in the end to make your own glazes, even with the initial expenses of setting up and equipping your glaze room.
- You have control over your glaze: surface, color, and other characteristics.
- You have the ability to modify an existing glaze formula or create an entirely new glaze.
- Your color palette can be richer although it will be more limited.
Commercial Glaze Pros
- They can reduce the risk in using toxic materials.
- They can come in either dry or wet (ready-to-use) form.
- Studio potters cannot replicate some industrial production methods. This is especially true for low-fire glazes, underglazes, lusters, luster glazes, and overglazes.
- Extensive color charts are available so you can have a good idea of what a glaze looks like prior to use.
- There is a huge color range and many special effect glazes, especially in the lower ranges.
- They are usually made so they flow better when brushed on, and brush marks smooth out during firing.
- Commercial glazes are especially appropriate for those who are new to ceramics, for schools, and for those who do not have the room or facilities for glaze-making.