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SCAPA STUDIOS: MINI GLOSSARY OF BASIC POTTERY TERMS

Bisque/ biscuit-  first low firing of clay to a sufficient condition to be able to absorb a glaze

(1000C)

Burnishing - polishing raw clay to a high gloss

Clay- raw material of various eroded rocks and  minerals,  from the most common and basic to the most pure: terracotta-earthenware- stoneware- porcelain. They require varying degrees of heat treatment to transform them into a vitrified, permanently ceramic state: earthenware @1100C, stoneware @1200C, porcelain@1300C.

Glaze- a liquid mixture of silica, fluxes and adherents suitable for firing  to  a waterproof and decorative coating for clay.  Porcelain does not always require glaze as the body already contains mostly glass. N.B. TYPE OF GLAZE MUST MATCH TYPE OF CLAY!

Kiln -  a built environment for firing clay, powered by gas, electric or wood. Other types of firing are raku (very fast) and pit ( very slow).

Lustres-  similar to enamels, a low-fired  final surface decoration, available in various precious metals and colours.

Majolica- an in-glaze decoration, colourants are painted onto to an unfired white glaze. Popular in Spain, Portugal, Italy.

Model/mould -  for making repeats or  series, a model is made from clay or taken as a found object, then a mould is built from it using plaster of paris. One- , two- or more complicated part moulds can be made depending on complexity of original. The model is then reproduced in casting slip. Simple hump or slump moulds can also be used for vessel forming

Raw- unfired clay

Ramp- temperature rise in firing

Scraffito- carving into raw clay

Soak – holding temperature

Slip - liquid clay that can be stained in different colours and applied either before or after firing.

Transfers/decals-  digitally produced images, applied on top of  fired glaze at a lower temperature.

Underglaze- colourants  or stains which can be applied to once fired clay. Can be washed off.

Wax/latex/paper resist - methods of blocking application of slip, colourants or glaze.

Recommended viewing:

Ceramic Arts Daily -  free online forum for potters everywhere, fantastic resource library

You Tube- Hsinchuen Lin, excellent  demonstrator of wheel  throwing ; Victoria Ellis, excellent demonstrator of clay carving techniques; Bambootoolspottery for hand building; Polymer clay for jewellery making .

 

Making methods

casting

coiling

cutting and pasting

scoring and slipping

pinching

hand building from slabs

modelling

moulding

nerikomi

sculpting

throwing on wheel

turning

trimming

Decorating methods

applying slip- painting, dripping, marbling, feathering

applying glaze – painting, dipping

impressing

sprigging

sgraffito

sponging

printing

stamping

tubelining