Home > Artist Tips, Uncategorized > Artist Tip: Prevent Crazed Glaze

Artist Tip: Prevent Crazed Glaze

June 11, 2011

I recently washed many pieces in my art pottery collection, and this is important to preserve the quality of the glaze on the surface of some ceramic and porcelain pieces.  Years ago, I ran an arts & crafts store and subleased space under an antiques shop.  I learned from one of the owners that the reason why good porcelain china pieces often have a web of cracked lines in the clear glaze – called “crazing”- is because people treat the china too preciously, rarely using it and thus rarely washing it. Washing the antique china and porcelain pieces is important; crazing happens because the glaze needs to come into contact with water for preservation, cracks in the clear glaze occur from ongoing dryness.  I won’t vouch on this as museum quality conservation knowledge; I just respect the wisdom of little old ladies who been wheeling and dealing antiques longer than I’ve been on the earth.  If anyone knows any differently, let me know!

Of course, many contemporary pieces of pottery, ceramics and porcelain have a glaze which is designed to intentionally form a crackled finish.  This simulates an aged look, like the tea cup above.  If you buy a vintage or antique set of china dishes, you may like the character of the crazed pieces as a desirable trait reflecting the age of the pieces.  I was advised that crazing is not necessarily an indicator of age as much as a lack of use.  

Categories: Artist Tips, Uncategorized
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