I’ve been busy making butter dishes lately, much like my foray into teapots a few years ago. I decided to try upping my game with Majolica glaze. Majolica pottery, for the uninitiated, is traditionally made from a white, tin-based white glaze used on terra cotta clay, and decorated with glazes over the white glaze.
Here’s a picture of a butter dish that I made from terracotta using the tar paper technique. I show the process here.
Here are a couple of butter dishes after bisque firing. The third butter dish isn’t Majolica; it’s white earthenware with low fire glazes.
Majolica is also a low fire glaze. We fire at cone 06. The above picture is the butter dish top dipped into the Majolica glaze. You are supposed to dip the entire piece in one fell swoop and let it dry without trying to touch up any wet runs or drips. After the glaze is dry, you can smooth out imperfections with your finger, but it’s best not to have them at all. The glaze will not run in firing and hide any goofs. You will see every imperfection which is why you want to make sure the glaze surface is as close to perfect as possible.
The fact that Majolica glaze does not move in firing might seem like a curse, but it is also a blessing. The overglazes you use to decorate stay where you put them. You have a lot more control over the finished product if you know what you’re doing. Something I don’t claim to know.
Here’s a finished butter dish. I have some little pinholes in my finished glaze. I think that’s because I didn’t have a thick enough coat of the Majolica glaze.
So, I’m still a bit of a butterfingers when it comes to Majolica glazing. But I’m learning!