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Smooth Stain Application

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I have tried many approaches to mixing stains that will permit a smooth flow of solid color like one would get in watercolor or gouche or acrylics. I have tried thin, watery solutions as well as moderately thick applications. I have used glaze as a medium base, clay as medium base, and glyciren as well as water. All will adhere to the fired surface. However, I cannot get a smooth flowing application with a fine tipped brush nor a broader soft brush. The stain comes out "sploshey"-uneven, clumpy in the medium.

 

The question: How to get a smooth, even flow of solid color in the application process? Uniform color flow as in china painting.

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One thing I would ask first is whether you have tried commercial underglazes which are

basically engobes. Amaco makes a very wide range of colors and finishes. One of their

lines promises good color with one brush stroke.

 

To get a watercolor effect one potter I know soaks the bisqued pot in water for a while,

then applies underglaze colors.

The results are much like watercolor paintings but just as hard to control.

 

In Robin Hoppers book Making Marks he has a range of engobe recipes that you can

add colorants too. He suggests that the best way to make a good colored slip is to mix the

dry ingredients together, then add water. You can also add a deflocculant if you want it to

be more fluid off the brush.

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I have tried many approaches to mixing stains that will permit a smooth flow of solid color like one would get in watercolor or gouche or acrylics. I have tried thin, watery solutions as well as moderately thick applications. I have used glaze as a medium base, clay as medium base, and glyciren as well as water. All will adhere to the fired surface. However, I cannot get a smooth flowing application with a fine tipped brush nor a broader soft brush. The stain comes out "sploshey"-uneven, clumpy in the medium.

 

The question: How to get a smooth, even flow of solid color in the application process? Uniform color flow as in china painting.

 

 

No, I have not tried commercial stain underglazes because I have the recipies and chemicals and stains to produce my own underglazes. I have read the sections on engobes and stains extensively found in "Making Marks". I am not getting the results I am looking for. I have applied engobes to dry greenware, leatherhard ware, and bisque ware, as well as cone 6 stoneware.

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I understand ... Have you tried mixing all of the ingredients including

the clay while they are dry? If you did this then added them to water

In a blender they should stay in solution.

 

If you have done this then please post an example of a recipe and how

you mixed, applied and fired it. It would help to see an image if you have one.

 

Another thought ... Are you sieving the mixture after it is mixed to make sure

there are no large particles?

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Guest JBaymore
No, I have not tried commercial stain underglazes because I have the recipies and chemicals and stains to produce my own underglazes. I have read the sections on engobes and stains extensively found in "Making Marks". I am not getting the results I am looking for. I have applied engobes to dry greenware, leatherhard ware, and bisque ware, as well as cone 6 stoneware.

 

 

Why are you using "stains" for the effect you want? And please define your concept of a "stain". I am wondering if you are actually talking about a slip/engobe, not a "stain" as most people use the term? For some people, a "stain" is simply something like iron oxide and water or copper carbonate and water. For others, it gets more complex.

 

For example all of my "stains" for decoration contain colorant(s), fluxes, suspension agents, brushing medium, and so on. Sometimes they are hand glass ground...sometimes ball milled.... sometimes mixed as supplied particle size.... depending on the effect I want.

 

If the stain is going on unevenly, then maybe you need to address the even-ness of the mixture you make. As Chris suggested, seiving is likely necessary at the minimum. I'd also suggest the possibility of ball milling to reduce the particle size to a much finer level. Compared to stuff like paints... ceramic particles are large. Some colorant particle sizes ar larger than others (check your typical analysis data sheets).

 

Also for "water color" effects.... soluble colorants (iron chloride or copper chloride or cobalt chloride, etc) might be just the ticket for you. HOWEVER..... the soluble forms of colorants can tend to have much higher risks for handling for the potter. Check the MSDSs for them before you make that decision.

 

best,

 

.....................john

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Two Dog, you don't mention what type of surface you are working one. Greenware, bisque, unglazed bisque, glazed unfired bisque, lowfire (under ^02) medium, or high fire? I realize I have given you a lot of choices, but different methods have different solutions to your problem.

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