Glaze in ceramics works like a varnish for furniture, except it has to be fired. It is made up of finely ground powders which are mixed with water, then laid over ware either in the clay or bisque state. When fired, glaze melts and turns into a transparent, thin, layer of glass that can be brilliant or matte. The natural color of the bisque or clay reflects through the glaze and gives it a strong, attractive quality and makes ceramic work non-absorbent to liquid. This is known as glaze firing.