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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.


Three completed forms with applied slip decoration.

How to Use Underglazes for Slip Trailed and Silk Screened Applique

Posted On December 29, 2010 29 Comments

There is no shortage of application techniques using ceramic underglazes. Laura Kukkee creates her decoration with underglazes on newspaper then transfers it to a freshly rolled clay slab. She also builds up layers of different colored slips and underglaze decoration on newsprint to create a very thin slab. Then she cuts the slab into pieces and uses an appliqué technique to apply the decorated pieces to pots. She also demonstrates silk screened and inlaid appliqué.

Paul Wandless Screenprinting

Surface Decoration Video: Exploring Options for Layering Screen Printed Images on Clay

Posted On December 3, 2010 22 Comments

This past summer, I had the pleasure of spending a couple of days with Paul Andrew Wandless to film an instructional DVD on screenprinting on clay. In any video production, there are inevitably parts that get left on the cutting room floor. But lucky for us, they don’t have to be lost forever because we can share them on Ceramic Arts Daily – which is what I will do today. In this clip, Paul demonstrates how screens and stencils can be layered to add more impact to an image.

The Spark, 5 in. (13 cm) in diameter, thrown earthenware with hand-painted underglazes and clear glaze. See details of the process on the next page.

Depth by 1000 Strokes: Terri Kern’s Meticulous Underglaze Decoration

Posted On November 15, 2010 33 Comments

I admit it. I completely lack the patience (and, since I am being honest here, I might as well just say it: skill!) to do detailed drawn decoration on my pots, so I am really awed when I see other potters pulling off intricate imagery. Such was the case when I saw Terri Kern’s work in the November 2010 issue of Ceramics Monthly. Today, I am sharing that recent Ceramics Monthly article so that you can all share my awe.

Drawn to Surface: How to Make and Use Underglaze Pencils, Crayons, Pens, and Trailers

Posted On August 16, 2010 17 Comments

Today’s post is an excerpt from our new free download, the Underglaze
Users Guide: How to Use Underglazes, Slip Trailers, Ceramic Pens, and
Underglaze Pencils.
In it, Robin Hopper talks about the different
underglaze options available and even explains how to make underglaze
pencils, pens, crayons and watercolors from scratch.

Patience, Patience: Using Slips and Stains to Add Detailed Decoration to Bone Dry Ceramic Sculpture

Posted On March 18, 2009 0 Comments

Ceramic sculptor Scott Ziegler’s shares his unconventional ceramic decorating technique using cone 6 slips and commercial stains and explains how he arrived at this process.

Freeze Frame: Using Photography to Capture Inspiration for Ceramic Art

Posted On February 4, 2009 0 Comments

Today, we’ll see some of ceramic artist Lee Akin’s photographs and learn how he uses stains, glazes and underglazes to create surfaces inspired by his photographs. Plus, Lee shares some of the slip and glaze recipes he uses to achieve the effects that he wants.

Layering Commercial Underglazes and Silk Screened Images to Create Contemporary but Rustic Ceramics

Posted On August 18, 2008 1 Comment

Inspired by 16th-century French potter Bernard Palissy, whose creations swam, slithered and crawled with creatures from nature, John McCuistion uses modern ceramic tools to create platters that evoke the same rustic flavor as Palissy’s did hundreds of years ago. John layers commercial underglazes and silk-screened images and then uses a unique washing technique to create his rich surfaces.

Mixing it Up: Using Stains and Underglazes to Create a Patina

Posted On February 25, 2008 0 Comments

The bold, expressive line work and warm color palette of Rohrersville, Maryland, artist Hunt Prothro’s work are born out of visits to Paleolithic cave sites in Southern France. Susan Chappelear recently attended a workshop given by Hunt Prothro at the College of Southern Maryland and gives us these details on how Prothro creates his beautiful patina.