I met a new friend last week (Hi Sherry!) and we were talking about glazes. She mixes her own whereas I use commercial glazes.
Before we go any further, I hereby bow down to those who mix their own glazes. It takes a knowledge of chemistry and a patience that I simply don't have and don't desire to learn. It is an artform in and of itself.
That being said, she asked me my favorite brands and since then, I've thought that I might have to backtrack on my initial answer. I initially said that I love Coyote glazes. But then I made all sorts of exceptions - this one turned out ugly, that one doesn't work the way I like, etc etc.
I think I have tried just about every brand of glaze out there. I'm constantly on the hunt for new colors. I number the back of each test tile I make and I'm currently up to number 82, so yes, I've sampled several. I think I currently have about 30 different pints in my cupboard. Several of them are only there because I didn't like the color, but can't bear to throw out useable glaze so I keep using them for the insides of mugs and stuff until one day, thankfully, I'll run out and be able to throw it away.
So I started thinking about if I had to choose only a handful of glazes to keep in my cabinet, which ones would they be?
All of the following observations are based on the results of my medium size kiln (I think it's an 18 inch hexagon, about 3 feet tall, inside dimensions) with a kiln sitter. I put the little cone it and when it melts, the kiln turns off. No soaking, no holding, can't really do that. I've tried using cone 5, cone 5 1/2, and true cone 6.
If I could only use 5 glazes they would be:
1) Albany Slip Brown, Potters Choice. Quite simply, it just works. It's a beautiful color that breaks gold. Looks good over texture and creates its own visual interest if no texture is present. Works the same on cone 5 through cone 6 and doesn't run all over my shelves.