I had someone come by yesterday and asked me to help her figure out her Glaze software. Like many people she thought that buying this would enable her to...easily... type in glazes and fix all their flaws. I had to tell her that there is no Santa Claus! There is no Glaze Fairy or magical wand to wave. This was as hard for me to say as it was for her to hear! That is a painful thing to have to do, but the truth is necessary. The question is do we really want the truth? But I digress, let's get back to the software.
These programs are great but have limits. I consider them like GPS. We all know how valuable GPS is in our mapping and phones, etc. But GPS is not travel, experience or discovery, nor is glaze software a glaze.
So I thought of this analogy; When I was out biking on the Blue Ridge Parkway I encountered this fantastic Pink Shell Azalea on the side of the road. I took a photo of it with my GPS enabled camera. So when I get home I have three digital memories of this Pink Shell Azalea:
1. The memory in my mind's eye
2. The JPG image in my camera
3. The GPS numerical plotting
My memory of its exquisite beauty causes me to want to share it with others. Now the sharing this is easy with a digital image and Facebook and I can even tell everyone where to find it with GPS.
Latitude - 35; 53; 28.326000000013
Longititude - 81; 58; 49.8840000000201
But all of this pales in comparison to the actual viewing/experiencing it in person.
Back to glaze software, these are great programs but merely point to the location of the possible glaze and are not the actual glaze. You still have to make a test and glaze a tile and then glaze a pot. It only give you possible tests. It speeds up the choices for tests. But you still have to run the tests.
The tests then inform the next set of tests which you can then correlate with the glaze software numbers. But the glaze software will never give you the answer. Only the tests/experience will give you the answer.
Golden Oil Spot Glaze
Gold Shino Glaze
They can't because someone has to first make the glaze and then tell them the recipe and then they will try to find parameters to report back to you. They will produce a Unity Molecule Formula of a glaze recipe and then if they have several dozen recipes they can tell you a range of where to "find" this glaze. Just like GPS.
But they won't tell you anything about mesh size of the particles, firing, speed of firing, atmosphere of firing, amount of time in the atmosphere or when to change the atmosphere, the application or clay body, etc. I could go on but I did write an article entitled "Illusions of Accuracy" which is in this e-book if you want to read more. And all these things are what is important in glazing, and also why you need to pay attention while doing it. Paying attention and observing results are probably more important than any glaze software you can buy, and they are FREE.
I know we all hate to suffer and I know we all want think we want to have someone or some computer do it for us.....but in reality doing it and struggling through the muck and mud is what makes seeing a beautiful glaze (or pink shell azalea) so satisfying. There is no substitute for the actual experience of a glaze. Being there, seeing it, feeling it. There is no substitute for the TEST TILE! And just so you can sleep at night...Santa is not dead and will never die because Santa is YOU and you are the TEST TILE !
So "Glaze on bitches"!