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Underglazes

Underglazes, or engobes, are colored slips formulated to have low drying shrinkage, allowing application to bone-dry or bisque-fired surface before glazing. Because of their wide palette of color options, underglazes are very popular with many potters and ceramic artists. So popular, we decided to give them their own category. In this category, you’ll see how underglazes can be used and see beautiful examples of work by artists successfully using them. And don't forget to download your free copy of the Underglaze Users Guide: How to Use Underglazes, Slip Trailers, Ceramic Pens, and Underglaze Pencils. This handy studio reference includes valuable technical references and great clay tools to help you with forming, surface decoration and firing. Plus, it has a comprehensive directory of manufacturers and suppliers that provide ceramic equipment, raw materials, clay tools and ceramic supplies.


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Pottery Video of the Week: Creating a Patina on Pottery with Trailed Slip and Layered Underglazes

Posted On July 11, 2014 35 Comments

In today’s video, an excerpt from Layered Surfaces (which is now shipping!), Erin Furimsky slip trails some patterns on a piece, then paints a couple of layers of different colored underglazes on top. After everything dries to bone dry, she sands and scrapes away at the layers creating an effect similar in appearance to weathered and worn layered paint. And it is gorgeous. Check it out!

Jessica Knapp peels away the graffito paper from a piece of pottery.

Carbon Copy: Transfer Paper Makes it Easy to Transfer Customized Underglaze Images

Posted On July 2, 2014 11 Comments
From screenprinting to decals, there are many ways to transfer imagery onto pottery. There’s a nifty commercial product out now, which acts kind of like a rice paper decal, only you can customize the image. Graffito Paper, as it’s called, is kind of like the clay world’s equivalent to carbon paper. Basically, you lay the… Read More »
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Less is More: Using Simple Pottery Forms as a Canvas for Playful Underglaze and Majolica Decoration

Posted On April 14, 2014 7 Comments

In today’s post, an excerpt from the November/December 2011 Pottery Making Illustrated, Courtney Murphy explains how she combines underglaze decoration over a majolica glaze to create her delightfully simple illustrations. She also throws in a couple of recipes!

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Video of the Week: Adding Depth to Tiles Using Underglaze as a Joining Slip and an Aesthetic Tool

Posted On July 26, 2013 5 Comments
Summer is flying by and school is right around the corner (sorry kids!). So this weekend we thought we’d have a little back to school sale on one of our most popular DVDs for teachers (and students): Clay Projects and Fundamentals with Neil Patterson. Through July 29, you can save $10 on the DVD. Today,… Read More »
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Creating Surface Designs with Glaze, Wax and Underglaze

Posted On March 11, 2013 0 Comments

I am always looking for new ways to add designs and imagery to my work and I am always amazed that I keep discovering new techniques. Case in point: the Brenda Quinn article in the latest issue of Pottery Making Illustrated. Brenda creates lovely surfaces by drawing a design on top of the glazed surface, then waxing over it, then carving the design through the wax and brushing a diluted underglaze into the carved areas. Pretty cool. – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.

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Pottery Video of the Week: Layering Soft-Stamped Underglazes and Sgraffito

Posted On July 27, 2012 15 Comments

Today, I thought I would share another fantastic layered surface technique from Erin Furimsky’s Layered Surfaces DVD. In this one, she takes ordinary foam craft stamps and puts her own twist on them. Then she combines that look with sgraffito (see finished glazed and fired piece below video!). Gorgeous, as usual. – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.

Candy Rain reflects the artist’s daydreams about candy raining down from the sky and her studio dreams of combining her love of drawing and of clay.

Using Underglaze Pencils to Satisfy a Love of Drawing and Working With Clay

Posted On July 2, 2012 5 Comments

Judith King jokes that she has a split personality. Half of her wants to draw and paint, while the other half wants to make pottery. Her coping mechanism: make work that incorporates both. But we all know that it can be difficult to draw on clay. In today’s post Judith explains how she makes it work by using and image transfer technique to get her draw. 

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Building up Luminescent Surfaces with Commercial Underglazes

Posted On June 6, 2012 5 Comments

Wow! The first time I saw photos of Jeffrey Nichols’ pottery (and pretty much every subsequent time), I couldn’t help but say wow. I’d suspect it is a fairly typical reaction to the vibrant (and vibrant is a bit of an understatement) surfaces of his vessels. Well, today, Jeffrey kindly shares his technique with us.

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How to Make Homemade Underglazes

Posted On April 16, 2012 8 Comments

In today’s post, an excerpt from our latest freebie the Underglaze Users Guide: How to Use Underglazes to Add Color and Graphic Interest to Your Pottery Projects, Holly Goring, associate editor of Pottery Making Illustrated and Ceramics Monthly shares her adventures in home made underglazes, and her underglaze recipe too!

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Pretty as a Picture: Tips for Using Underglaze, Oxide, and Glaze Pens to Draw on Clay

Posted On February 23, 2011 10 Comments

Lately, I’ve been experimenting more and more with introducing imagery and/or pattern to my surfaces. Mostly I have been working with screen printing and stencils in this new work, but a recent article in Pottery Making Illustrated made me want to start experimenting with the variety of oxide, underglaze, and glaze pens that are on the market. In today’s blog post, I am going to share that recent article, which includes tips for working with these handy tools.