Monday, October 28, 2013

Low fire glaze vs. High fire glaze

So what's the difference?

I usually use high fire glaze, but in the past years when I've networked with local art teachers, they've been turning me onto trying low fire glaze. So I've been trying to phase out my stock of high fire and try the low fire.. but there are some things I just wanted to make sure are correct from my understanding:

1. Low fire glaze has a more painterly quality to it?
2. Can low fire glazed pieces touch each other in the kiln?
3. Low fire glaze can be mixed like paint?
4. Low fire glaze can be used on high fire clay?

If someone could help clarify / verify these statements, I'd really appreciate it! I already told my students they'd be my little guinea pigs for this glaze I bought, but I just wanted to have somewhat of an idea of what might happen when firing. Thanks for any input in advance!


  1. I'm no expert but it's my understanding that low fire glazes are more colorful than high fire glazes which make them enticing for children. Neither low fire nor high fire glazes can touch each other in the kiln without melding together. And I don't believe low fire glazes can be mixed like paint...with the same predictable result. Perhaps you are thinking of under glaze which is a colorful clay body mixed with a little flux. Under glazes can change the texture of the piece if applied thickly and they can be watered down for a water color effect and I would say that they have a more painterly quality. I don't know if they can touch in the kiln...I've always kept pieces apart, but now you have me wondering. Under glaze doesn't shrink as much as glaze and it doesn't run. It can be applied to greenware more successfully than glaze (I always bisque fire). Under glaze is typically given a coat of clear glaze for a glossy finish. Good luck with your glazing.

    1. Thanks for the response! I was hoping to hear from someone before we glazed and fired. Unfortunately, I didn't.. BUT, I did go ahead with the low fire and it was a success! The low fire glazes definitely turned more "true to color" and were more predictable than my high fire. We used Mayco Foundations Glaze ( which advertises that you can mix them, but none of my students experimented too much with that as I had a pretty good range in choices. I also ended up buying the Amaco Teacher's Palette ( but haven't tried that out because they fire at different cones and wanted to try one at at a time.

      Do you by any chance know if I would be able to fire pieces that are supposed to be fired at cone 05 and cone 06 at the same time?

  2. I know you've already gotten your answer, but I'll recommend Stroke and Coat glazes. I use Mayco Stroke and Coat. Yes, you can mix those glazes together like paint and get different colors. Yes, the colors don't drip and you can put them side by side and they won't mix and you can glaze and fire all the way from cone 6-06. The Hot Tamale red is RED. I will only use these from here on out with my kids (unless I am splurging for the speckled and firework type glazes which change when you fire them anyway....). Nope, don't stick them to where they touch in the kiln and don't sit them directly on your kiln shelves unless you are absolutely positive no glaze is on the bottom! :)