Pottery isn’t all reenacting scenes from Ghost – there’s a lot of math and science that goes on behind the scenes, particularly when it comes to choosing, testing, and making glazes (for those of us who make our own). But coming from a science background, I enjoy playing the mad scientist from time to time

It’s not quite the terra cotta army of Qin Shi Huang, but they’re mine to do my bidding! As long as that bidding is testing glazes! For test-tiles, ideally you want something freestanding, big enough to be able to layer a couple of glazes and see the effects, and small enough that they don’t take up too much room in the kiln. The hole is there so they can be hung on a pegboard for reference. Within those parameters, it’s up to the potter. My old studio had very ornate test tiles that were extruded, cut, stamped, and decorated. Other potters just smoosh the clay into a shape that will stand up. I like throwing mind on the wheel, because they have a unitary texture to the pieces I make, and because it’s a pretty fast process.

But even with test tiles, you sometimes can have “glaze accidents.” Sometimes they come out pretty cool, in this case I really like these touch up spots.

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