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How do I write on clay?


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#1 Alina Albu

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 03:30 PM

I would like to make a wall plaque in porcelain with a quote on in. Is there some obvious, simple way to write on porcelain? I have considered alphabet spaghetti, but can´t see how I´m going to get the "ink" in the grooves without smearing it everywhere else.


I lam looking for "printing" on clay that is crisp and clear.

Any suggestions - much appreciated.

Alina

#2 neilestrick

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 03:51 PM

Stamps? Or write with a rounded tip tool, a normal pen will work, on leather hard clay. After bisque, paint over the letters with underglaze and wipe off the excess, leaving the underglaze in the letters. Just make sure you write deep enough so the underglaze isn't easily wiped out of the letters.
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#3 perkolator

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 04:21 PM

Are you looking for text on the surface or a text impression in the clay?

For surface, underglaze pencils and overglaze pens are available to write directly on the clay or glaze. I've never used the pens, but the pencils work quite well and look like pencil marks whereas he pens I'd assume will give a more solid line. I've also used the Pebeo Porcelaine china paint pens they sell at craft stores - worked quite well for what it is. Since it's not really "fused" at ceramic temps, it can be scratched off with some effort.

Ceramic decals, screen prints, laserjet, etc are also an option, and will probably give you the cleanest results. Decals can be made custom - try online search for vendors who can make either B/W or color ceramic decals. In our studio we have a thermal screen printing machine, called a RISO - makes quick screens for printing/image transfers. Text can work quite well depending on size of text, mesh size, and technique. Traditional screens can be used as well. Screen printing can also be transferred using decal methods as an option. There's also laserjet decals if you have access to a B/W laserjet printer.

Impression in the clay can be done by many methods. Stamping is probably the go-to if you want uniformity. Hand-writing an impression can be done directly on clay or with a membrane between (like paper or plastic sheet) to help keep burrs to a minimum. Fill your impression with UG or oxide - or even a breaking glaze for something more subtle.

Good luck!

#4 emi

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 07:32 PM

Pebeo Brand
Porcelaine 150 and Vitrea 160 worked great on low fire clay. Follow directions.

#5 Alina Albu

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 04:15 AM

Thank you all.

I guess stamp it is, and 'll have to be very careful at filling the grooves - last time I made a bit of a mess.

Alina

#6 Pres

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 08:14 AM

Thank you all.

I guess stamp it is, and 'll have to be very careful at filling the grooves - last time I made a bit of a mess.

Alina


If you want a hand lettered look without burrs from incising, Place a piece of thin clear plastic over the piece-smooth down well so no air pockets and it is adhering slightly to the damp clay. Place Permanent marker lines for guides, then use your pointed/slightly rounded tool to write. This will indent, not burring as you work. Leave the plastic on until after leather hard, and then lift. Works very well, even with wedge type calligraphic tools as long as they are rounded.

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#7 GEP

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 10:00 AM

Thank you all.

I guess stamp it is, and 'll have to be very careful at filling the grooves - last time I made a bit of a mess.

Alina




If you want the letters to be a different color than the porcelain, make sure to bisque-fired the plaque first (as mentioned above by Neil). Paint underglaze into the letters, it doesn't have to be very neat. Allow it to dry, then wipe the plaque with a damp sponge. This will leave the underglaze in only the depressed areas of the letters. This takes some practice, but the bisque-fired plaque can be rinsed off again and again. Just keep practicing until you like the result.

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#8 High Bridge Pottery

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 10:17 AM

If you want a hand lettered look without burrs from incising, Place a piece of thin clear plastic over the piece-smooth down well so no air pockets and it is adhering slightly to the damp clay. Place Permanent marker lines for guides, then use your pointed/slightly rounded tool to write. This will indent, not burring as you work. Leave the plastic on until after leather hard, and then lift. Works very well, even with wedge type calligraphic tools as long as they are rounded.


This has been my exact problem today, glad I found your technique to stop burrs Posted Image




#9 Christine

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 11:00 AM

Thank you all.

I guess stamp it is, and 'll have to be very careful at filling the grooves - last time I made a bit of a mess.

Alina



.... or you could try linotype lettering. I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time when an old Arcana printing press and several drawers of type were being skipped - a really valuable resource for me as there were lots of different typefaces and font sizes which means I can mix and match. I also had an old John Bull children's printing outfit which I use too - these are rubber (probably plastic nowadays) letters

I'd love to see your results

Thanks for an interesting post

Christine

#10 AtomicAxe

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 11:36 AM

just paint your lettering mirrored onto news print in slip, when it gets to a firm consistancy, you can invert onto the surface, rub into place, wet the back of the paper, and you can just pull it off.

Simple trick, but it works.

Also, try experimenting with transfering toner from laser prints onto your work. The ink won't burn off in low fire, not sure in high fire.

#11 AtomicAxe

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 11:40 AM

Oh and if you feel like embossing the letters into the clay, try carving your text into linoleum for block printing on paper ... then take burnt plate oil, ball clay, flux and a colorant and mix them together into a smooth consistancy, roll them onto the linoleum with a brayer and impress into the clay, the ink will transfer into a thin layer and still cause embossments, and will not disappear into the cover glaze after bisquing it.

Wood block cuts also work.

#12 oldlady

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 05:53 PM

I would like to make a wall plaque in porcelain with a quote on in. Is there some obvious, simple way to write on porcelain? I have considered alphabet spaghetti, but can´t see how I´m going to get the "ink" in the grooves without smearing it everywhere else.

I lam looking for "printing" on clay that is crisp and clear.

Any suggestions - much appreciated.

Alina



i am going to reply to your request for " simple ". try using a white sheer curtain cut in pieces of the right size to cover your porcelain greenware while it is freshly made. white so you can see through it. cutting it with a pinking shears will prevent unwanted threads getting in the way. smooth it out on the clay so there are no wrinkles. they will form as you write with a dull pencil or a stylus. as the wrinkles form, raise the cloth a little to remove them and smooth it down again. write whatever you want and it will not have any burrs. if the fabric is sheer enough you will have no problems with unwanted texture (think of the result if using rough canvas).

lettering on clay takes practice, try forming letters by pulling the stylus downward and try not to push it upward. that means the letter 0 will be formed by drawing the left side down and then the right side down, not trying to make a circle without lifting the stylus. practice will show you how deeply to press your stylus to get the results you want. finishing the plaque with a colored, transparent glaze will leave pools of color in the indentations.

been drawing on clay this way for years. simple
"putting you down does not raise me up."




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