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
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.
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 .
cutting and pasting
scoring and slipping
hand building from slabs
throwing on wheel
applying slip- painting, dripping, marbling, feathering
applying glaze – painting, dipping