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Ceramic Decorating Techniques

Explore the possibilities of decorating ceramics with techniques used at the forming stage through final glazing and even post-firing methods. Interested in trying out terra sigillata techniques? You'll find recipes and techniques here. Have you always wanted to try your hand at raku firing? You can learn more about it here. Wondering what is possible with commercial glazes? Look no farther! We've gathered myriad articles on myriad ceramic decorating techniques here in one place. The possibilities of what can be done with clay, ceramic tools, materials and a little imagination are virtually endless, and you'll find even more inspiration in the Ceramic Arts Daily Bookstore.


“Beaten Bowl,” 19 in. in diameter, handbuilt earthenware with wax and soda resist, and terra sigillata, smoke fired in an electric kiln, 2005.

Beyond Wax Resist: Alternatives for Interesting Resist Decoration on Your Ceramic Art

Posted On November 3, 2014 10 Comments

Belgian potter Russel Fouts has done a great deal of experimenting with various “permeable” resists and today, he shares some of the results of his experimentation.

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Painted Decoration with Slips and Underglazes

Posted On August 25, 2014 0 Comments

Ceramic artist Bede Clarke has explored a number of different paths in his career. Recently, after focusing primarily on wood firing for a number of years, he shifted his concentration to painting on the slipped surfaces of earthenware pots to satisfy a love of painting. In today’s post, an excerpt from the September issue of Ceramics Monthly, Bede explains his decorating process.

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How to Paint Convincing Patterns on Round Pottery Without Trigonometry

Posted On August 18, 2014 4 Comments

Painting a repeating pattern on a round vessel presents challenges. To be convincing, the pattern needs to expand proportionally with the roundness of the pot. Tony Merino wanted to do this, but really wasn’t too excited about revisiting high-school trigonometry class. So he set out to find an easier way, and he did. In today’s post, an excerpt from the September/October 2014 issue of Pottery Making Illustrated, he (and co-author Pam Luke) share the process.- Jennifer Harnetty, editor.

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How to Create Colorful Patterns on Pottery with Slip Transfer

Posted On July 28, 2014 6 Comments

The pottery of Lauren Karle is influenced by the beautiful garments of the indigenous cultures of Guatamala, where she lived for 2 1/2 years. The pots reference these garments both in the way they are constructed (cut, altered, darted, “stitched” together) and in their decoration. In today’s post, an excerpt from the October issue of Ceramics Monthly, Lauren demonstrates how she creates colorful patterns with a slip transfer technique. 

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A Simple Watercolor Majolica Technique

Posted On June 25, 2014 11 Comments

Ceramic stains and underglazes mixed with water painted on unfired white-glazed bisque is pretty similar to watercolor painting on paper. The main difference is that the glazed bisque surface absorbs the color and water mixture more quickly. But once you get used to that, you can create beautiful watercolor-like surfaces. In today’s post, an excerpt from the July/August 2014 issue of Pottery Making Illustrated, Laurie Curtis shares her simple technique.- Jennifer Harnetty, editor.

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How to Use Tape Resist with Barrel Firing to Create Organic Patterns

Posted On June 18, 2014 2 Comments
As Dana Bilello-Barrow was developing her voice and her skills with clay, she realized that she would often be disappointed by her post after glazing. What resonated with was the tactile connection she had with the raw clay so she decided to try to find ways to maintain that through the firing. Her solution was barrel firing. In today’s post, an excerpt from Naked Raku and Related Techniques, she shares a cool way to develop organic patterning on barrel fired posts.- Jennifer Harnetty, editor.
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How to Create Tactile Decoration with Slip Trailing, Terra Sigillata, Underglaze and Glaze

Posted On May 30, 2014 0 Comments
Making low-fire work in an electric kiln, Liz Zlot Summerfield carefully considers her surface decoration at every step along the way. In today’s post, an excerpt from her DVD Handbuilt Forms with Soft Slabs: Developing Ideas, Sketches,and Patterns into Functional Pottery, Liz shares a couple of techniques that help create surface variation that functions aesthetically… Read More »
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Piece of Cake: How to Decorate Your Pots Like a Pastry Chef

Posted On May 26, 2014 5 Comments

Slip trailing is a great way to add decoration to pots. Most ceramic artists use a fairly liquid slip when slip trailing. But after watching a baking competition on television Sharon Romm started experimenting with using thicker slip to decorate pots like a pastry chef would decorate a cake. She shares her results in today’s post.- Jennifer Harnetty, editor.

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Two Simple Techniques for Adding Relief Texture and Imagery to Your Pottery

Posted On May 19, 2014 0 Comments
I have seen many potters use tar paper as a pattern making tool, and have seen stencils used to create colorful designs with underglazes or glazes. But in today’s post, they are used slightly differently. Ben Carter explains how tar paper can be cut into a shape or pattern and then pressed into soft clay creating low relief. He also shows how to use stencils to make low-relief with thick slip.- Jennifer Harnetty, editor.
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How to Use Slips of Varying Thickness to Create Texture

Posted On May 9, 2014 3 Comments

There are lots of ways to create texture on pottery, the most obvious being stamping the malleable surface. But Lisa Naples creates beautiful random texture on her work with slips of varying consistencies. In today’s post, an excerpt from her our compilation DVD Handbuilding: Texture and Surface, she demonstrates how her thin, thick, and thicker slips can build up different textures creating lovely surfaces.- Jennifer Harnetty, editor.