I'm trying to achieve a red glaze, I don't want to go down the "Iron Red" route and so I've tried a couple of commercial preparations, bought as a dry  mix.

Neither of them have been the colour I want.

I'm thinking now it will be easier to achieve (with the obvious testing) if I just use Mason Stains mixed into my usual clear gloss liner glaze.

Is there a better way? I did originally think I might add stain to the bought glaze but I'm shying away from that idea now.

Two pics below hopefully, (but not appearing in preview) the red (and black) is from my most recent firing, the other pic is nearer to what I want.

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I can't tell from the picture since it is so zoomed in, but the second picture looks more like a iron stoneware body with a iron based glaze. I don't know if it is or isn't because again its so blurry and close up. However you stated you don't want to go with an iron glaze for your red. That is understandable as it is pretty difficult to get good iron reds if your not using a high quality red iron oxide. I recommend a synthetic blend if you do try to get an iron red glaze.

As far as the mason stains go, that will work fine, just be aware if you go with an encapsulated stain, for a bright red it will probably have cadmium(check MSDS), and you should do the due diligence of getting it tested for leaching by a lab. 

I haven't ever used a mason stain to get a red color, so I can't comment on a good base to try it. I usually use the 20x5 base that is well known and most of my stains have came out great with it. I usually use mason stains to get teals and light blues because I find they are hard to get with metal oxides consistently.

Take your glossy base and mix up 2-5 batches of it and add the stain in 2% increments. from 2 to 10% that will give you a lot of shades and you can also see if the stain affects the melt any. Some do.

Thanks for the response Joseph.

I'll certainly look into synthetic Iron oxide.

The second pic is what the first is supposed to look like, I don't know what body it's on. My pot is on white stoneware. I'm fairly sure (from cleaning my spray gun) that there's some very fine Ilmenite in the glaze.

One of the biggest problems facing an amateur such as myself is that we just don't do enough firings, it makes testing anything a very lengthy process, I do however have almost a kiln-load ready to glaze fire and I'll try the red again with a slow cool down programmed in. I've also got a large jug in that load which is intended for use in my studio and so the outside of that is also now a test canvas for some red & yellow glaze mixes.

If nothing good comes of that I'll get hold of some red & yellow stains and have a play from there, hopefully I'll get closer eventually.


I agree with the beginning firings being so limited, I bought a smaller kiln than I could afford for this very reason. My kiln is only 2.7CuFT. It is annoyingly small when I am trying to jam it full of pots, but its beautiful when it comes to testing as I don't feel bad firing it half full of test pots and glazes.

I usually test glazes with small cups. I find that test tiles don't reveal enough of what the glaze does. I have made tiles so many times then made an actual pot and the glaze didn't look exactly the same at all even with the same exact noted application process. 

Axner sells a really good RIO synthetic blend. It is expensive at like $4#. But I find it makes really beautiful reds.

Axner is the wrong side of the pond for me Joseph. I can however get Synthetic RIO for about £4.5 per lb. 

Mine is only a small kiln too, about 2.6 cu.ft. It doesn't cost very much to fire, maybe £5.00 max. with a controlled cool, less with a natural cool down but I just don't like firing it half empty.

Thanks again for your input.

Any synthetic will do I presume, I just know axners, its the only thing I order from them. 

I don't blame you on firing half empty, but it's just part of it sometimes. The firing process is the longest learning curve we have in this art, you can throw pots all day, you can glaze endlessly, but the firing is the bottle neck in our learning, so I just do what I can to get around that, if im firing 4 pots then im firing 4 pots. Elements aren't that expensive and I sell a few pots here and there to replace them and my materials cost. 

Good luck with the red.

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