Glaze & Spraying
When a customer looks at a piece of tableware they do not see the core, nor do they understand the work it took to produce it; all they see is the smooth, shiny surface, i.e. The Glaze Layer.
So what exactly is Glaze? It is basically a hard opaque glass, which is similar chemically to household window glass. Glase is resistant to almost all chemicals and totally waterproof once it has been fired. What we spray onto the tableware is a mixture of the finely ground raw materials in sufficient water to form a creamy fluid. The powdered materials stick together and to the ware surface due to the addition of a binder. This is a glue similar to wallpaper paste which will burn out in the early stages of firing.
At Royal Stafford, some of the tableware is dipped into glaze (shown above left) and some is sprayed (shown below left) depending on the size and shape. Dipping is a manual process whereas spraying is done mechanically.
The Glaze must be applied evenly and at the right thickness. If the layer is too thin, then the pale grey buff of the core will be visible when fired. If the layer is too thick, then the glaze melt will flow on the piece leaving ripples and runs in the surface.
After the glaze is applied to the plates, dishes, oatmeals and saucers, they are placed into cranks, which keeps the ware separate. The cups, mugs and cast items are foot wiped to remove excess glaze on the bottom of the item, then placed onto trucks to be taken to the Glost Kiln.