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Ceramic Terms to Know
||This term refers to the one of several techniques of building pots
using the only the hands and simple tools rather than the potters wheel.
The term used for creating pottery using the potter's wheel is
||"Pinch" in ceramics is a method of shaping clay by inserting
the thumb of one hand into the clay and lightly pinching with the thumb
and fingers while slowly rotating the ball in the palm of the other
hand. [See resources for links to tutorials
on how to create. See the Assignment 2 page for
of pinch pots.] Pots made in this manner are called "pinch
||This is the technique of building ceramic forms by rolling out coils,
or ropes, of clay and joining them together with the fingers or a
tool. (How to do this can be found at
||Slip is liquid clay. The easiest way to make slip is to
gradually sift or spoon dry, powder clay into a small cup of water. Stir
well as you add because it will tend to thicken up after it sits for a
minute or two. You want it to be about the consistency of thick cream.
|Score and Slip
Score and slip refers to a
method of joining two pieces of clay together. First, score the
clay; this means that you make scratches in the surfaces that will be
sticking together. Then you slip it; that is you wet the surface
with some slip, using it like glue. Next, you press the two pieces
together. It is very important to always score and slip clay that
is leather hard. If you do not, the pieces will likely pop apart when they
||In this technique, flat slabs of clay are pressed into molds in order
to create various shapes or forms.
|Stages of Dryness
||When speaking of clay, we
refer to three basic stages of dryness: wet, leather hard and bone dry.
They are self-explanatory.
Decorative Techniques and Terms
||Sgraffito is a decorating technique developed centuries ago. In its
simplest embodiment, leather-hard clay is coated with an engobe or slip
of contrasting color and then a pattern or picture is added by carving
through or scraping off the slip to reveal the clay underneath.
More examples of sgraffito pottery,
||In this decorative technique, patterns or designs are created by brushing a wax
medium over an area of clay, slip, or glaze to resist the final glaze
application when the wax is dry.
||Slip trailing is another decoration method. Slip (a
liquid clay) is applied to the greenware through a tube or nozzle, much
like icing a cake. See
a demonstration here.
of a casserole dish decorated with slip trailing.
||This is the technique of pressing forms into the clay to
get decorative effects.
of shell stamped Early Native American pottery.
||Below is the definition from encyclopedia.com
(mejolŽike, meyolŽ-)or maiolica
[from Majorca ],
type of faience usually
associated with wares produced in Spain, Italy, and Mexico. The process
of making majolica consists of first firing a piece of earthenware, then
applying a tin enamel that upon drying forms a white opaque porous
surface. A design is then painted on and a transparent glaze applied.
Finally the piece is fired again. This type of ware was produced in the
ancient Middle East by the Babylonians, and the method remained
continuously in use. It was extensively employed by the Hispano-Moresque
potters of the 14th cent. By the mid-15th cent. majolica was popular in
Italy, where it became justly famous through the decorations of the Della
Robbia family. The method is still widely used in folk art.
Bibliography: See G. Liverani, Five Centuries of Italian Majolica
(tr. 1960); M. Barnes and R. May, Mexican Majolica in Northern New Spain
||This refers to a method of creating designs by folding
different colored clays together into "rods" or bars, then
slicing them as if you were slicing rolled cookies. This duplicates a
design over and over for each slice.
Here is a YouTube demonstration showing how
"Mille Fiori" as a ceramic decoration technique might be used in ceramics.
The artist is Curtis Benzle. His work is advanced, but it is a wonderful
demonstration of what's possible with ceramics. It is shown in 3 parts:
part 3 and
Firing Processes and Terms Dealing with Firing
||This is the process of heating the pottery to a specific temperature
in order to bring about a particular change in the clay or the surface.
||The term bisque refers to ceramic ware that has been
fired once without glaze.
||This refers to ceramic ware that has not been fired.
||A glass-like surface coating for ceramics that is used to
decorate and seal the pores of the fired clay.
|A kiln firing in which there is insufficient oxygen to
free carbon emanating from the heated glaze and clay, resulting in the
formation of carbon monoxide. Oxygen-starved carbon monoxide pulls oxygen
from the clay body and glaze, forming color changes in the coloring
||A kiln firing with a full supply of oxygen (as
opposed to a reduction firing). Electric kilns are this type.
||Raku is a method of firing pottery that takes a ceramic
piece in its raw state, greenware, and quickly (in 45 minutes to an hour
rather than 8 to 18 hours) takes the temperature up to almost 2000
degrees. Examples and explanations:
www.guild.com (Search for "raku".)
Japanese Connection Glossary
Parts of a Vase
Note: The parts of a vase correspond to the parts of a human
Parts of a Vase
||The opening at the top of a vase.
||The (usually) narrower part that leads from the body of
the vase to the mouth.
||This is the main part of the vase. It is usually the
||This is the part of the vase that meets the floor.