Sue McLeod was first introduced to ceramics at Kootenay School of the Arts in Nelson, BC where she completed a 2 year clay diploma program. After she graduated in 2010, she moved back to her hometown of Victoria, BC where she continued to make pots from her home studio.
Sue explored ceramics through a mainly artistic lens for several years, but she always felt like there was a big hole in her understanding of the craft. There was a whole other technical side to clay and glazes that she was unfamiliar with. Challenges kept arising that showed her just how little she really knew about her materials.
After countless glaze catastrophes, Sue became determined to do whatever it would take to develop an understanding of how glazes work. In 2014, she enrolled in an online Glaze Calculation course, offered by Alfred University. This course taught her everything she hoped to learn about glazes and so much more that she hadn’t even considered.
Since taking that first class, Sue has gone on to take more ceramic chemistry courses through Alfred University, including an Advanced Glaze Chemistry course and a Clay Bodies course.
Sue has been employed full time as the ceramics studio technician at Cedar Hill Rec Centre since 2015 where she uses the knowledge she gained from these courses on a daily basis. She can now confidently fix runny glazes, eliminate crazing, increase durability and develop new glazes from scratch. Glaze research and testing is a regular part of her practice and she’s always learning new ways to create different effects, colours and surfaces.
Sue is compelled to share what she has learned and has been teaching glaze chemistry workshops since 2017. She gave a talk about Understanding Cone 6 Glazes at the NCECA conference in Pittsburgh in 2018.
Sue feels that understanding glazes is the missing piece from so many ceramic artists’ practice and hopes to inspire them to take the steps to further their knowledge.