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Color Splash: How to Make Vibrant Bursts of Color on Pottery Using Ceramic Colorants and Slip
Posted By Annie Chrietzberg On August 19, 2009 @ 8:39 am In Ceramic Colorants,Daily,Features | 20 Comments
Impressing textures into soft clay and then playing with those textures in the glazing process is loads of fun (in my humble opinion). I often do washes of color on my textured surfaces, leaving concentrations of the glaze or colorant in the recesses. But sometimes when I wash the slip or glaze off, the color loses its vibrancy. So I loved this tip from Lana Wilson in the September/October 2009 issue of Pottery Making Illustrated. Lana uses steel wool rather than water and a sponge and maintains the bright color of the slips she uses.
Today, Annie Chrietzberg explains Lana’s process and shares the clear glaze recipe she uses to make her work food safe. – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.
Lana Wilson’s work is mostly black and white with bits of vibrant color splashed about. She says, “I have a background in painting, and this technique really appeals to the painter in me.” She was inspired by the work of Denise Smith of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Claudia Reese, a potter from Texas.
To prepare the slip, Wilson takes 100 grams of small pieces of bone dry clay and adds 10-50 grams of a stain. The percentages of stains varies according to the intensity of color she is trying to achieve.
The clay Wilson uses is Half & Half from Laguna, formulated for firing at cone 5, though she fires it to cone 6. This clay body is half porcelain and half white stoneware. It’s not as white as porcelain, but it does fire white rather than yellow in oxidation, isn’t as finicky as porcelain, and works well with Wilson’s making methods. If you’re buying clay from the East Coast, she suggests a clay body called Little Loafers from Highwater Clays.
This technique comes to you from the pages of Pottery Making Illustrated.
PMI is the only ceramic art magazine in the world written entirely by potters for potters. And it shows. Experienced ceramic artists share their tips, their techniques and their information so you can avoid time-consuming mistakes and get the most out of your studio time.
In the final step, Lana dips the piece in a clear glaze, and fires to cone 6. Through lots of experimenting, and with lots more to go, Wilson finds that ending with a dark color on top works best for her.
Mixing Colored Slips
There are two groups of colored slips. The first group Wilson uses for the base coat that she washes off, leaving color in all the recesses. The accent slips are more intense and removed with steel wool. All stains are Mason stains except for 27496 Persimmon Red, which is from Cerdec. Add the stains and bone dry clay to water and allow to sit for 30-60 minutes so it will mix easier.
From Richard Burkett. Use over colored slips. Shiny, resistant to crazing, cool slowly.
NOTE: Stain-bearing slips applied to surfaces that come into contact with food need to be covered with a food-safe clear glaze. Because of the many variables involved in glazes (clay body and glaze fit, variability in chemical content, temperature variability in kilns, organic materials, etc.), we cannot guarantee food safety on the recipes we post. The best way to be certain is to have one of your finished pieces leach tested by a lab.
Glaze Testing Resources:
To learn more about Lana Wilson or see more images of her work, visit www.lanawilson.com.
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