Monday, September 22, 2008
Experimenting with Underglazes
I live in a fairly remote and rural area and the closest community college I attend has few resources or encouragement for other than basic ceramics exploration. Since I am curious about all the possibilities of ceramics, I have set upon a self-directed course delving full speed ahead into ceramic tangents as I discover them. Reading about various clays, slips, glazes, and under glazes has been peaking my interest into more and more discovery.
Recently I made some bowls, plates and casseroles with a dark bodied clay. I wanted to glaze this dark clay without covering it completely. I wondered if there was a way to put a small contrasting decoration on the ware but still be able to see the quality of the dark clay body beneath. I decided to experiment with some under glazes.
I had read about under glazes and have seen work I thought was decorated with under glazes and wondered how that type of technique might enhance my ceramic pieces. I purchased a couple of bottles of ceramic under glaze and painted the under glaze on my green ware. Now that I have used some under glaze I see I can use a finer paint brush and perhaps enhance and improve some of the decorations, like the fish, with some alternating colors. I will see how this first experiment turns out and then I will refine my under glaze work in the next experiment.
The green ware will be bisque fired this week. If the under glaze color doesn't burn out I will glaze the dark clay with a clear glaze and the white porcelain with a light blue celadon glaze in hopes the darker under glaze will show through. I am hopeful this first experiment shows some promising results. If my experiments turn out as I expect them, I can see under glazes will bring a whole new dimension to the many glazing ideas I have for my ceramic pieces.