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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 from one of the great articles in How to Add Color to Your Ceramic Art: A Guide to Using Ceramic Colorants,
Ceramic Stains, and Ceramic Oxides:

 

hopper1The World of Ceramic Colorants

by Robin Hopper

The potter’s palette can be just as broad as the painter’s. Different techniques can be closely equated to working in any of the two-dimensional media, such as pencil, pen and ink, pastel, watercolor, oils, encaustics or acrylics. We also have an advantage in that the fired clay object is permanent, unless disposed of with a blunt instrument! Our works may live for thousands of years—a sobering thought.

 

Because a number of colors can only be achieved at low temperatures, you need a series of layering techniques in order to have the fired strength of stoneware or porcelain and the full palette range of the painter. To accomplish this, low-temperature glazes or overglazes are made to adhere to a higher-fired glazed surface, and can be superimposed over already existing decoration. To gain the full measure of color, one has to fire progressively down the temperature range so as not to burn out heat-sensitive colors that can’t be achieved any other way. Usually the lowest and last firing is for precious metals: platinum, palladium, and gold.

 

hopper2For the hot side of the spectrum—red, orange, and yellow—there are many commercial body and glaze stains, in addition to the usual mineral colorants. Ceramists looking for difficult-to-achieve colors might want to consider prepared stains, particularly in the yellow, violet, and purple ranges. These colors are often quite a problem with standard minerals, be they in the form of oxides, carbonates, nitrates, sulfates, chlorides or even the basic metal itself. Minerals that give reds, oranges, and yellows are copper, iron, nickel, chromium, uranium, cadmium-selenium, rutile, antimony, vanadium, and praseodymium. Variations in glaze makeup, temperature and atmosphere profoundly affect this particular color range. The only materials which produce red at high temperatures are copper, iron, and nickel . The results with nickel are usually muted. Reds in the scarlet to vermilion range can only be achieved at low temperatures. The chart should help pinpoint mineral choices for desired colors (note that the color bars are for guidance only and not representative of the actual colors —Ed.).

 

Colors are listed with the minerals needed to obtain them, approximate temperatures, atmosphere, saturation percentage needed, and comments on enhancing/inhibiting factors. Because of the widely variable nature of ceramiccolor, there are many generalities here. Where the word “vary” occurs in the column under Cone, it signifies that the intended results could be expected most of the time at various points up to cone 10.

 

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:

 

 

 

 

 
  ironfacesThe 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.

 

 

 
 

brittDiscovering New Glaze Colors with Ceramic Stains
By John Britt

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

   
  wilson1How 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!

 

 


2 Comments on "How to Add Color to Your Ceramic Art: A Guide to Using Ceramic Colorants, Ceramic Stains, and Ceramic Oxides"

  1. Marc Hudson October 29, 2014 at 3:24 pm -
    What is an equivalent measure of copper oxide to replace copper carbonate?
  2. e January 14, 2012 at 8:11 pm -
    You guys are fabulous! Such a great resource. Thank you so much.

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