Like making, glazing can be addictive for Tessa. She has taken forward and expanded upon her knowledge and in-depth glaze research that was carried out during her Masters at the Royal College of Art. She continually spends time researching and testing numerous glazes in order to produce her expressive ceramic sculptures. She aims for glazes to awaken gratification of the physical senses and selects colours and surfaces for their blending and clashing qualities. Tessa’s glazes enhance the harmony and discord of the sculptural arrangements. Equally through use of rich colourful glaze and three dimensional form, intensity is embraced so as to transport the viewer into another dimension. The arousing and soothing qualities of the glazed surfaces reflect the fluidity of human sensations. Through glaze, her sculptures become animated and they provide room for contemplation on impermanent states of existence.

Glaze Tests
Glaze tests

Each coloured glaze is made up of a recipe using various balances of mineral constituents. There are vast variations, and accidents can provide for exciting effects if they are recorded. Tessa has a glaze archive, some are kindly shared by fellow makers and others are specially developed recipes. The archive is always a work in progress and includes glazes at earthenware and stoneware temperatures which often produce unpredictable effects.

Tessa embraces the unexpected nature of glaze. Her glazes are deliberately applied too thickly or too much water is added, causing the glaze to fire abnormally in the kiln. Her glazes are purposely intended to transform in accidental ways and many depend on ingredients with an extremely small particle size which reduces movement, encouraging shrinkage. Different colours and surfaces are produced by layering.

Tessa’s textured surfaces depend on balances of ingredients which at certain temperatures produce chemical reactions. Varying glazes will produce a smooth effect, or a moon-like surface with holes that one can see into. Colours can alter within glazes, especially when oxides are added. Her carefully recorded recipes inspire and assist with the further advancement of work.

Tessa applies glazes using various methods such as spraying, dipping and pouring, but most typically brushing. She aims to avoid spraying toxic materials into the atmosphere and tends to do this only when pieces have deep internal spaces where she is unable to reach inside. She more often brushes glaze as this allows for different glazes to be applied on a piece and is more economical so that smaller batches can be mixed. She stabilises work in the kiln using handmade stilts. Work is fired on clay trays with sand and adequate space is left between pieces to avoid pieces sticking together when the glaze melts.