Understanding glaze: a practical introduction to glaze theory and development with Louisa Taylor

Ref: SLW32893

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About this course

This course serves as an introduction to the fundamentals of glaze theory and development, and is for students who are looking to expand their knowledge and gain confidence with this dynamic area of ceramics practice.

Course Description

This course will provide a holistic approach to glaze chemistry, theory, and development. The focus is to help demystify the many different aspects of glaze practice, such as the principles of glaze, the materials used, methods of application and firing. The aim of the course is to be accessible, informative and to instil confidence. It is suited to anyone who would like to develop their general understanding of glazes and will start with the basics and build upwards to ensure a solid foundation and grounding is fully established.

On the first evening there will be an introductory talk about the fundamentals of glaze and the properties of the raw materials. On day two and three, you will learn how to read and calculate a glaze recipe. This will be followed by how to test and develop your glazes using a variety of methods such as line blends and bi-axial blends. As part of this process, you will learn how to record and analyse your results which will enable you to repeat and use the most successful glazes on your work in the future.

Throughout the course there will be opportunities to reflect on the test results that are produced each day to help you understand the specific attributes and effects of the individual material components that constitute the overall glaze. You will experiment with colouring pigments such as oxides and stains, to explore how colour in glaze can be achieved and developed. By the end of the course, you will have produced a broad collection of glaze samples and test results which can be used as a valuable resource and reference as your creative practice evolves.

Key skills/content covered on this course:

Understanding glaze – what is a glaze?

Glaze materials – key properties

How to read a glaze recipe

Preparing a glaze

Glaze testing and development

Application methods e.g dip/pour techniques

Firing principles and temperature points

Common glaze faults


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • All glaze materials will be provided by the College for shared use. Your tutor will supply the bisque tiles required for glaze testing and experimentation.

What students need to bring

  • Apron
  • Please bring along any glazing tools you already have, including; fine/dense/special sponges or scalpels (please don’t go and buy anything specially though as tools will be provided)
  • A fine paint brush, pencils, a sketchbook/notebook to record and keep notes in, a fine permanent marker
  • A small box/lidded container to store your tests
  • A camera or tablet if you would like to record activities
  • Overalls and old towe.
  • A disposable dust mask will be provided on this course but you are welcome to bring your own mask along if you prefer
  • Optional: Please bring along a 2-5 of your own bisque fired objects to use as test objects

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Apron
  • Pottery tools e.g. metal kidney tool, rubber kidney (basic pottery tools and glazing equipment are provided for use)
  • Paint brushes
  • A selection of all art materials
  • Natural sponge

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no sandals or open toes). Possible equipment restrictions in tutor absence. Glaze firing: Any work left at the college for a glaze firing must be collected within six months of the email notifying you that it is ready for collection. Alternatively, you are free to take away unfired pieces for firing elsewhere.


Louisa Taylor

Louisa Taylor studied an MA in Ceramics and Glass at the RCA, London (2004-2006). She is based in Brighton where she produces her ceramic tableware range for shops, galleries and collectors in the UK and internationally. She is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Brighton and a member of the Crafts Potters Association and Contemporary Applied Arts.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

Courses of interest

Further study options

Take the next step in your creative practice, with foundation level to Masters in Fine Art study. 

Depending on your experience, start with an Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design (one year, part-time), a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design made up of 10 short courses taken over two years (part-time) or advance your learning with our BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft: Materials, Making, and Place (six years part-time). All will help you develop core skills, find direction in your practice and build an impressive portfolio in preparation for artist opportunities or higher-level study. See all degree and diploma courses.