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Glazing/Underglazing textured pieces - help!

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I'm new to this forum and ceramics.  I'm currently building a totem.  All of my pieces have impressions in them through use of found objects, stamps or carving.  I'm using underglazes and glazes to bring out the texture in each piece, in part through a staining process.  This is where I become confused.  I'm in an open studio (low-fire only)  with a busy instructor who isn't always available.  I tend to get instruction on the run which doesn't seem to be working for me.  I'm hoping the good folks on this forum can help me fill in the gaps.   In my small glaze inventory, I have  Duncan Envision Glazes and Duncan Concepts underglazes.  Through test tiles on my Duncan Concepts, I've learned that they really do not behave as true underglazes and have a glossy appearance after firing (on greenware).   I have a few jars of Mayco fundamentals underglaze which delivered the expected results...a collection I need to add to.

My glazing/staining for texture question is which of these two methods should I use?  Keeping in mind that by underglaze, I mean the Duncan concepts "underglaze" (which is all I have at the moment). I'm also working on bisqueware.

1. Using glaze (colored, glossy) should I apply it so that it falls into the recessed areas.  Then, sponge off with a clean sponge.  Then, apply an underglaze over the entire thing and leave on.  Or........

2.  Using Duncan concepts underglaze should I apply it so that it falls into the recessed areas.  Then, sponge off with a clean sponge.  Then, apply glaze (colored, glossy) over the entire thing and leave on. 

With either method, should I be diluting either the glaze or "underglaze."    Of course, I'm open to other methods.....keeping in mind that I'm a newbie. :

P.S. I've already put Duncan Envisions  (1037) glaze on this piece (below) and have sponged off.   I had planned to add Duncan Concepts  512 green apple, but I'm not confident about the end results.  Thank so much for your help!

Totem leaves sml.jpg

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You will get excellent technical advice here from people who are truly knowledgeable, but also don't forget Youtube on this. I have seen very good short videos about exactly this.

I am not highly experienced, but I have to say that I always use, and love, the Amaco velvet underglazes.  They have a matte texture unless you glaze over them. I usually use Amaco Sahara clear for a soft non-glossy finish.

That is an interesting piece with its textured branch segment and leaves. What ill this be part of? Is there a hole through the branch?

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Thank you!  I've pouring over books and some websites trying to find an answer.  I need to explore Youtube as well.  This piece of the totem will sit beneath a sunflower.  It does have a hole in the center so that the totem  support rod can go through it.  This is my very first ceramics project......perhaps I bit off more than I could chew.  ;)  I'm having a great time though!

 

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Whether or not you need to dilute the underglaze depends on how strong you want the color. I don't know about the Duncan product you're using, but underglazes are typically matte after firing, and must be covered with a clear glaze to make them food safe. As for the glaze over it, if you like the matte surface you can leave it unglazed as long as it's not meant for food. If you prefer it glossy, or it's meant for use with food, then use a glaze over it. You can use a clear glaze, or any transparent color that will let the underglaze show through. Some satin and matte glazes will even let some underglaze colors bleed through. 

If you apply glaze first, then underglaze over it, you won't be able to see the glaze. Underglazes are matte and  opaque. Underglaze first, then glaze. That's why they call them underglazes.:D

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On 6/18/2018 at 4:29 PM, neilestrick said:

Whether or not you need to dilute the underglaze depends on how strong you want the color. I don't know about the Duncan product you're using, but underglazes are typically matte after firing, and must be covered with a clear glaze to make them food safe. As for the glaze over it, if you like the matte surface you can leave it unglazed as long as it's not meant for food. If you prefer it glossy, or it's meant for use with food, then use a glaze over it. You can use a clear glaze, or any transparent color that will let the underglaze show through. Some satin and matte glazes will even let some underglaze colors bleed through. 

If you apply glaze first, then underglaze over it, you won't be able to see the glaze. Underglazes are matte and  opaque. Underglaze first, then glaze. That's why they call them underglazes.:D

Thank you, Neilestrick!  Your post has been very helpful!

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Typically the traditional method is exactly what you described as #2, except most folks would put a clear glaze over a colored matte underglaze. Layering another colored underglaze with a glossy finish works too. You'll get brighter colors that way, like 'glazing' with watercolors. Just be really careful not to disturb the dry first layer when putting down the second layer, so use a soft sumi ink brush or something similar to apply your top glaze.

For thinning just use water, although this may thin the color you can apply more layers to build it back up. If the finished glaze pits you've usually used to much. At low-fire temps underglazes are usually pretty well-behaved, it depends on what look you're going for. 

Like Gabby said, Amaco velvets are very nice underglazes and their colors are reliably vivid. For me they have been really foolproof over greenware. 

Most of my underglazes are the Duncan you described. Their main advantage is you don't have to necessarily use a clear glaze over them, eliminating the need for a second firing if they turn out well, however their gloss varies slightly from color to color in my experience, temperature, whether you're firing greenware or bisque, etc, testing is *groan* the only sure way to figure out each and every color you buy. If you want a lot of different colors try mixing colors in the bottle like tempera paints -but I'd try to stay within a brand type to pre-mix colors. 

BTW not being confident about end results is a way of life for potters. Be brave and welcome to the club. 

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