Ten years ago, I took over the art room that I am currently in. Waiting for me, in amongst the indescribable mess of hoarded materials, was a collection of glazes that had to have taken YEARS to put together. Literally hundreds upon hundreds of jars of glazes, almost all of which were completely dried out. The smart move would be to toss them out and save myself the headache, but it’s tough to discard thousands of dollars worth of materials. Instead I decided to reclaim them.
It’s a process to reclaim glazes, but a little patience and elbow grease (generally provided by student aides) go a long way. I’ve ordered other glazes intermittently, but 10 years in, I’m still using the original stash. They’re old, they’re gross, and I don’t even know if I’m doing it right, but the glazes are still being utilized and still look good when fired.
Here’s my process:
1) Break down the dry glaze into smaller pieces. Obviously wear a mask if there is a lot of powder.
2) Cover with water, and let sit overnight.
3) Stir, then break up chunks of glaze, then stir, then break up chunks of glaze, then stir, then break up chunks of glaze, then . . . (I use wood footing sticks, and they have always seemed to work well). This can easily take a couple of days, especially if the glaze was dry to begin with.
4) Stir some more. As the glaze is getting smoother, keep slowly adding water to get the glaze thinned to the consistency needed. Then stir it some more.
5) Break out your blender and finish the job.
If you don’t have a blender, by the way, get one for the art room. Great for making slip really smooth, getting casting slip to the consistency needed, and of course, reclaiming glazes.
Like I said, I’m not even sure that this is the right way to do things, so I’m open to corrections/suggestions. But it is a process that has worked for me.