Glaze Application: Applying Crystalline Glazes

This is a fountain glazer. It consists of a large basin that holds glaze, and a simple pump called a bell pump that is operated by a foot pedal. The basin is filled with glaze, some of which flows down the center pipe into the bell reservoir. When the artist steps on the pedal, it causes a jet of glaze to flow up through the basin. In the second picture, I am carefully controlling the speed with which I am pressing the pedal . If I pressed hard and fast enough, I could cause the fountain of glaze to go all the way to the ceiling.

Glazing a boat-shaped form. Note the cascade of flowing glaze. The entire inside of the piece is uniformly coated.

The fountain glazer easily covers small and medium sized flat forms. There is no need to wax the backs.


Glazing a bowl. First, the bowl is dipped down to the foot-ring line. Then the bowl is lifted from the basin and the inside of the bowl is fountain-glazed.

There are limits to how deep a bowl can be dipped. But the insides of very big bowls, even as large as the basin, can be fountain-glazed. The jet of glaze fans out when it hits the bowl, easily and uniformly covering the entire interiors of bowls.

There is a limit to how far the glaze will fan out when it hits a flat, horizontal surface. It may be necessary to operate the pump multiple times to cover larger plates and platters. In the second photo, I am re-fountain glazing the corner of a flat plate.


I use a plastic threaded pipe to guide the fountain of glaze into forms that have narrow openings such as vases.

Note in the first photo that several small holes have been drilled into the base of the pipe to allow glaze to flow back down into the bell pump.

All of the above six pieces in the above demonstaration photos were glazed in rapid succession in very little time.

The fountain glazer is indispensable to me. I "raw glaze" or "single-fire," that is, I apply my glazes to unfired, un-bisqued raw clay or greenware. Most artists use glaze tongs and dunk their bisqued work in large glaze buckets.

The grabbing action of glaze tongs such as those pictured above will destroy raw greenware, especially once the clay starts to absorb moisture from the glaze. Additionally, the fountain glazer coats my work in a very uniform, predictable and manner, which is crucial for preventing and controlling the running-off of glaze during firing that crystalline glazes are so notorious for.

Manufacturer of the Fountain Glazer

Glazing the Outside of a Vase:
In the first picture I am drawing a line 1/4" up from the bottom of the vase by holding a pencil against the base while rotating the piece on a lazy susan bearing.
Picture 2: ready to dip.
3: dipping to the pencil line.
4: excess glaze dripping back into the bucket.
click on images to enlarge.

The RAM bell pump.

The top and bottom castings are identical. Sandwiched between the two halves is a rubber membrane. When you step on the foot-lever, it pushes a rod that enters the lower casting-half upward. The rod terminates in a small plate witch presses against the rubber membrane. The membrane travels upward, forcing glaze out of the upper bell-half through the central threaded pipe.