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Underglaze vs. slip vs. mason stains?


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#1 Becca

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 09:18 AM

Greetings, all! I am new to this forum, and have read a few threads relating to my question, gleaning lots of useful information, though nothing that has quite helped me solve my quandary. My ceramics experience (in college and using other professionals' studios) has been focused primary on gas fired ^10 stoneware. I am just starting out on my own, building up my own studio, and am learning to work with what I've got, which is an electric kiln. I have been experimenting with ^6 porcelain, and my initial idea was to paint on a black slip, then to carve in drawings and designs, exposing the white clay body, and then to glaze the entirety in clear. I have zero experience using a slips, but understand that you have to apply them to moist clay (nothing drier than leather hard). One potential issue is that I have a five month old baby, and have some trouble getting to my studio super regularly right now, making it difficult to keep pots moist until I am ready to decorate. I am interested in trying mason stains and/or black underglaze, thinking that they may lend some versatility. Could I create the graphic imagery that I desire by simply painting or drawing with black on leather hard, bone dry, OR bisque fired pots??? Could I also have the option of creating the carved, textured surface by using the underglaze or mason stain much the same way I was planning to use the slip? What are the limitations of underglaze and mason stains in terms of WHEN they are applied? Any tips would be much appreciated! Thanks!

#2 Chris Campbell

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 11:43 AM

The short answer is YES, the Jet Black Amaco underglaze can be used for your purposes at almost any stage.
If you want the carving to be deep, you can apply it at any wet stage then carve through it when you have time. At most stages before dry, the incised designs will be deeper, crisper and more controllable.
If the clay seems too dry, lightly spray with water then apply another coat of underglaze ... this will moisten the surface a bit so you can work on it.
You can also apply underglaze to dry clay, bisque fired clay, totally fired clay ... then carve your surface designs. I used to buy pre fired, glazed tiles and do this with great success.
I have even mixed up a slip in the blender and poured in some underglaze for color ... then used that slip.
Underglazes are probably the most flexible, user friendly product around.

http://www.ccpottery.com/slips.html

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#3 Becca

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Posted 11 June 2013 - 06:50 PM

The short answer is YES, the Jet Black Amaco underglaze can be used for your purposes at almost any stage.
If you want the carving to be deep, you can apply it at any wet stage then carve through it when you have time. At most stages before dry, the incised designs will be deeper, crisper and more controllable.
If the clay seems too dry, lightly spray with water then apply another coat of underglaze ... this will moisten the surface a bit so you can work on it.
You can also apply underglaze to dry clay, bisque fired clay, totally fired clay ... then carve your surface designs. I used to buy pre fired, glazed tiles and do this with great success.
I have even mixed up a slip in the blender and poured in some underglaze for color ... then used that slip.
Underglazes are probably the most flexible, user friendly product around.

http://www.ccpottery.com/slips.html


Thank you so very much for taking the time to give such a thoughtful reply! What a wonderful resource and online community this is, thanks to people like you :). Looks like underglaze is to be the sure winner!

#4 Celia UK

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 01:21 AM

I can't add anything to Marcia's reply but have a tip about keeping your work damp. I had a similar problem - as a hobby potter with various other interests, I'm not working in the studio 24/7. I throw a number of pots, which I need to keep damp until I have the time to a) turn them and then again B) carve, incise, build on etc. Wrapping in plastic was a pain and didn't always keep things consistently damp - then I found a YouTube video about making a Magic Box! www.youtube.com/watch?v=_y_f9mV381k Posted by timseepots
If this address doesn't work for some reason, put 'Pottery Magic Box Youtube' into Google.

I made up 3 and they have transformed my life as a potter! Work stays damp for months AND it's protected from accidental damage. If I'm half way through working on decorating a piece and have to stop for the day (or longer), or if it has become drier than I want (for carving), I put it away in one of my boxes and come back to it the next day, or week ... And it's uniformly back to leather hard - Magic! An absolute MUST for the classroom too - when students start a piece in one lesson and can't get back to it until the next lesson. Wish I'd discovered this BEFORE I retired as a Primary School teacher.

Good luck - and keep on potting between feeds and nappy (diaper?) changing!

#5 Nancy S.

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 09:17 AM

I can't add anything to Marcia's reply but have a tip about keeping your work damp. I had a similar problem - as a hobby potter with various other interests, I'm not working in the studio 24/7. I throw a number of pots, which I need to keep damp until I have the time to a) turn them and then again B) carve, incise, build on etc. Wrapping in plastic was a pain and didn't always keep things consistently damp - then I found a YouTube video about making a Magic Box! www.youtube.com/watch?v=_y_f9mV381k Posted by timseepots
If this address doesn't work for some reason, put 'Pottery Magic Box Youtube' into Google.

I made up 3 and they have transformed my life as a potter! Work stays damp for months AND it's protected from accidental damage. If I'm half way through working on decorating a piece and have to stop for the day (or longer), or if it has become drier than I want (for carving), I put it away in one of my boxes and come back to it the next day, or week ... And it's uniformly back to leather hard - Magic! An absolute MUST for the classroom too - when students start a piece in one lesson and can't get back to it until the next lesson. Wish I'd discovered this BEFORE I retired as a Primary School teacher.

Good luck - and keep on potting between feeds and nappy (diaper?) changing!

 

WOW!!! This is awesome. Thanks so much for sharing -- I don't have kids, but I'm also a "when I have the time" potter, and I've had to scrap too many decent pots because they got too hard to work with...



#6 Pugaboo

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 11:12 AM

That is so very cool. I'm going to have to make some magic boxes for myself. I do a lot of surface decoration and it can be a real challenge to get it all done before the clay moves past the workable stage. Thank you for posting the link.
The world is but a canvas to the imagination - Henry David Thoreau




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