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Adding color to your ceramic art can be a tricky proposition. Unlike working with paints, what you put on your prize pot or sculpture can be very different from how it looks before and after firing. As a general rule, ceramic stains and ceramic pigments look pretty much the same before and after firing while ceramic oxides like iron oxide, cobalt oxide, and copper oxide as well as cobalt carbonate and copper carbonate all look very different. In How to Add Color to Your Ceramic Art: A Guide to Using Ceramic Colorants, Ceramic Stains, and Ceramic Oxides, you’ll find a little help to better understand what, how, and why ceramic colorants work in a glaze. Enjoy!

 

Here’s a sampling of the great articles in How to Add Color to Your Ceramic Art: A Guide to Using Ceramic Colorants,
Ceramic Stains, and Ceramic Oxides:

 

Using Ceramic Pigments and Stains

by Bill Jones

 

Commercially prepared ceramic pigments, commonly referred to as ceramic stains, expand the potter’s palette with infinite color options. With ceramic pigments, you can color the clay, color the glazes, or color both. Ceramic pigments are easy to use and the simplest way to introduce a wide range of color into your work.

 

Depending on the use, pigments may be used straight and just mixed with water, but they are more commonly added as colorants in clay bodies and glazes. Some pigments are specifically formulated for clay bodies while some are not suitable at all. When used in clay, pigments are usually used in engobes and slips as a coating for clay rather than pigmenting the entire body. The exception to this would be using stains to tint porcelain for neriage work.

 

Use in concentrations of 10–15% in clay, using more or less depending on the intensity needed. Add the pigment to the slip and sieve through a 120x mesh screen to ensure adequate dispersion.

 

Pigments can be used in underglazes for brushing onto greenware or bisque. If used only with water as a medium, some glazes may crawl, so for best results, mix the stains with a frit (for example, Ferro frit 3124). Begin with a mix of 85 frit/15 pigment and test. Transparent gloss glazes applied over the top will heighten the intensity of the colors.

 

When using pigments in glazes, usually in concentrations of 1–10%, a little more care must be taken because some pigment systems react with materials in a glaze. Some pigments are affected by the presence, or lack of, boron, zinc, calcium, and magnesia. Manufacturers provide information on specific reactions. While most pigments can be used in both oxidation and reduction atmospheres, some are limited to certain maximum temperatures. Again, this information is available from manufacturer websites.

 

To achieve a wider palette, most pigments can be mixed to achieve even more colors. The exception is that black pigments cannot be used to obtain shades of gray because blacks are made from a combination of several metallic oxides. If low percentages are used, the final color is affected by the predominant oxide in the black pigment.

 

To read the rest of this article, download your free copy of How to Add Color to Your Ceramic Art: A Guide to Using Ceramic Colorants, Ceramic Stains, and Ceramic Oxides…

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How to Add Color to Your Ceramic Art: A Guide to Using Ceramic Colorants,
Ceramic Stains, and Ceramic Oxides
also includes the following:

 

 

The World of Ceramic Colorants
by Robin Hopper

The potter’s palette can be just as broad as the painter’s because there are so many ceramic colorants and combinations to choose from. By combining ceramic oxides, ceramic stains, and ceramic pigments in various proportions, you can get every color in the spectrum.

 

 

 
The Many Faces of Iron Oxide
by Dr. Carol Marians

Glaze ingredients, the clay body, firing atmosphere, and even kiln-stacking techniques can all affect your firing results. Red iron oxide is one of the ceramic colorants that’s quite temperamental and affected by a lot of variables. From dark brown to unusual speckles, red iron oxide can offer a lot for a single ceramic colorant.

 

 

 
How Lana Wilson Uses Ceramic Pigments
by Annie Chrietzberg

Lana Wilson’s work is mostly black and white with bits of vibrant color splashed about. She gets her color from ceramic pigments mixed with a clay slip which she makes from a commercial clay body. She explains how to mix the slip, how much ceramic pigment to add for each color, and how to use the glaze on a finished piece.

 

 

 
 

About Ceramic Arts Daily

 

Ceramic Arts Daily is a free online resource and newsletter written and produced for the benefit of potters and ceramic artists worldwide. The newsletter features both renowned and emerging artists, their work, techniques and artistic perspectives. Regular features include tips and techniques designed to help every artist expand their skill set and widen their artistic horizons. Ceramic Arts Daily also delivers video tips, in which potters and ceramic artists demonstrate various projects and processes. Think of them as e-workshops!

 

Ceramic Arts Daily is designed to be interactive, inviting your comments and fostering a community in which each person can contribute to the growth of their own and others’ skills. You may be surprised at what you learn!

 

Ceramic artists on Ceramic Arts Daily know what ceramic art is all about – from functional pottery to abstract ceramic sculpture. This is about community. You’ll be drawn in by artists’ stories, inspired by their work and find confidence to try some of their techniques. With Ceramic Arts Daily, you’ll learn a little bit of everything. Then you can choose the techniques you enjoy the most to create something new!

 

So start today by downloading our free How to Add Color to Your Ceramic Art: A Guide to Using Ceramic Colorants, Ceramic Stains, and Ceramic Oxides. Then, get ready for Ceramic Arts Daily to introduce you to new artists and show you new techniques!

 

 


No Comments on "How to Add Color to Your Ceramic Art: A Guide to Using Ceramic Colorants, Ceramic Stains, and Ceramic Oxides"

  1. e January 14, 2012 at 8:11 pm -
    You guys are fabulous! Such a great resource. Thank you so much.

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