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The Fun of Decorating

September 3, 2011

Now that the cups are finished with their first firing in the bisque kiln they can now be glazed. Glazing can be tedious work, which colors go best together and the difficult question of what it will look like after it is fired. Every firing turns out a little different so you never know quite what it will look like, which makes each opening of the kiln exciting.

One of my favorite ways to glaze is by painting on under glazes, probably because I love to create my own designs. They are called under glazes because they are painted on first, before you glaze the whole pot. After being fired the under glaze will show through pretty much all glazes, unless they are too opaque or put on too thick.

It always helps to practice your design before you start. I like to do several sketches in my sketchbook to plan out which will look best. Practicing on a paper towel with your paintbrush helps with getting the right amount of water and glaze on your brush. Too much water will make the glaze run and too little the brush will run out of paint before you finish your stroke. I find that the pieces look best when they have the least fuss, just a couple of well planned strokes. But do not worry if you mess one up (as I have many times) you can wipe it off with a sponge and sand paper.

Where the design is placed on the piece is also important. An element of design I learned in school is that a well placed design keeps your eye moving across the paper. The same goes for pottery. Where the design is placed can either keep you looking across the surface or stop. I like to put a design on each side of the cup so that whichever way you hold it, there is a design. One of my favorite tricks is to use the end of the paint brush to create dots around the handle and the plate, but keep a small amount on the end occasionally wiping it off or your circles will not be so pretty.

Now that the design is done, picking the glaze to cover the piece is next. I have tested some other pieces and like the limestone clear and ten clear because they work well with the under glaze. Now the wait to see how they will turn out in the firing begins! I will post pictures when they come out!

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From → Pottery Projects

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