Sunday, 28 June 2015

A tip for glazing pots without a footring

Many of the pots I make these days don't have a footring, and if the pot is a rounded form, then finding a way to dip-glaze them without leaving finger marks can be challenging. As an alternative to dipping tongs, one possible solution is to use old pieces of kiln shelf to create a foot for the pot.

First I take a piece of kiln shelf which already has batt wash fired on to it. Using a hammer or a small rock, the shelf is then broken into smaller and smaller pieces, until I have one of suitable size and shape to fit onto the base of the pot to be glazed. Next, the base and the chunk of kiln shelf (a side with a robust layer of batt wash) are coated with PVA, glued together, and left to set. If the batt wash is flakey or powdery, the pot can easily work loose and drop off.

I find that on a bisqued pot (fired to around 1050 C ), the clay absorbs moisture from the glue so it dries very quickly, often in a matter of  minutes. Once the "foot" is firmly fixed the pot can easily be dipped very close to the bottom edge.

So far I have tended to use this method with small to medium sized pots, but there is no reason why it couldn't work on larger pieces (perhaps using several glued supports). However, handling and moving them onto the drying shelf could no doubt become more problematic.

It's important to make sure the pot is stable when stood on the fragment of kiln shelf, as it may move slightly in the kiln as the glue burns away during the glost firing. Also precautions should be taken regarding the fumes which will be given off by the burning glue, so safe ventilation of the kiln is essential.The same technique can be used with shelf supports or pieces of wadding from previous firings, but again, one needs to be careful that the pot will remain upright when fired.

Another advantage of this method; no need to add wadding when loading the kiln, and it doesn't annoyingly drop off down the side of the shelf when you start rearranging the ware!

And now a shameless commercial plug;  I've added a link to my online shop, Birchcroft Ceramics, in the sidebar of the blog, and just this morning listed a wood-fired tea caddy or food storage jar:

Tea caddy, height approx 4.75 inches

I hope you might like to to have a browse through the pots some time, and please don't hesitate to e-mail me at if you have any comments/questions or wish to enquire about other pieces which are shown here or elsewhere on the internet.
Thanks for reading.


  1. good tip, since I hand brush I eyeball mine without wax but it's not always even as I would like.

    1. thank you .. I've never used wax, but sometimes use a round spirit level set on the base to get the glaze edge level . Also I use alot of stiff glazes so finger marks are often left very visible ..