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Working with Lusters

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39 minutes ago, sima said:


i'm sima from iran and i am a beginner

i really want to learn about the techniques that are used to make these products. hope you could help me learn more. if you know any resources leet me know




Sima, looks like you have a collection of luster glazed pottery. Most of these are functional items, but I would not use any of them for serving food etc. Maybe just an old potters prejudice. The process involves firing ware at a regular temperature where clay and glaze is matured. After that glaze firing, an overglaze of luster that is toxic, and often contains metallic oxides or salts is painted on over top of the original glaze in part or all. Then a third firing(assuming bisque, glaze, luster firings) is done at a low temperature, near 1500F, with a vented kiln. The fumes from the firing are quite toxic, and the ware afterwards needs gentle polishing to remove a slight residue.

Did this process in 90's with some pieces, successful, but not interested in the lack of durability and the toxic nature. The lusters will rub off over time, and if you consider the materials they are made of you would be ingesting these if the pottery were meant for serving or food. 







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53 minutes ago, Rae Reich said:

Sima, although gold is also a lustre and applied and fired the same way, it is food safe and a bit more durable (unless microwaved).

That dinnerware set Is beautiful. 

hi rae. 

do you know any video or any toturial that explains how gold lustre is used?

it's expensive but beautiful and food safe.

thank you.


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I can tell you what I learned many years ago and is still useful, but you will have to look up videos yourself (try the sites of the manufacturers).

Apply to a high gloss, food-safe glaze surface. Dark, black or red are favored undercolors for large areas of gold, but not essential. 

Clean surface well with alcohol, refrain from contact with oils or dust where applied. 

Apply in smooth even flowing coat. Retouching will spoil the surface, if you want that polished look of the examples. More artistic effects, brushing on like watercolor or simply highlighting are fun experiments.  A little gold (it's in an oil base so application will depend a lot on your brush - be conservative) can make a big difference.

Do not touch your fingers or anything else to your mouth while working with lusters, no eating or drinking, to avoid any contamination of your person or the application area or your workspace.

Protect lustered surfaces from dust. The oil base attracts lint, dust, pollen, etc. Cover until fired - fire as soon as possible.

Fire in oxidation with the kiln door open a bit to start as the volatiles burn out (and stay far away as this is happening), close the door and go to cone ^018 (about 1285F ). 

Do not clean finished surfaces with abrasives. Silver lustre will have to be periodically carefully polished, but platinum lustre, like gold, retains its shine when properly applied and cared for (as you would gold or silver plate, because  it's just a thin coating).

Good luck!

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thank you guys, working with clay and glazing are so much fun and all about experience. i really hope learning these techniques.

actually english is my third language and in Iran, the resources are rare so it's hard to feed my curiosity. i'll try to find videos.

we have our traditional pottery and glazing but i am fascinated with the gold lustre dinner set and the plate with rainbow shadow.



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Sima you are from the land of Giants. Iran/Persia is huge for pottery historically. 

It is where blue and white pottery started. 

It was the most famous centre for lustreware (I don’t think gold so much tho - my knowledge is spotty).

i understand that ‘pop’ ceramics has taken over (sad story of the crafts) but I would say look around. 

I cant imagine no lustreware pottery where lustreware began.  Write to university ceramic professors. Always keep looking at pots around you - possibly in high end boutiques - and find out the source of the pots. 

You come from the land of glass, metals and clay where they have influenced each other and continues to do it.  You should be able to find someone - some clue.  

What you see now is not traditional pottery. Forms maybe. Not really surface.  They are made for tourists and are heavily influenced by Turkey next door.  

Lustreware IS ONE of the traditional styles of pottery I believe originating in Iran.  Makes sense since it was used by glass first and it was big in Iran. Looking at Iranian glassware actually got me interested in lustreware. Sadly mostly through books and one museum.

Personally I am not a big fan of gold. It’s wonderful to hide flaws. Too common. However I can see it’s place especially with filigree work.  

Good luck with your endeavours

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Okay, just had to look and see what's available on YouTube on lustre. Not a whole lot, but these 3 stand out. A Persian, Dr Abbas Akbari is a lustre scholar, makes his own and fires in a wood kiln in heavy reduction, so his lustres need to be polished out. A nice technique in Part 1 of writing through the fresh lustre. Part 2 is well worth watching to the end for his very nice contemporary pieces. Third video is an overview of a class he helped teach. They build a kiln and fire it, he also demonstrates firing in a little gas fiber kiln and with a torch.

https://youtu.be/eFmDtMRQQ9M Part 1

https://youtu.be/-hxRi3T40xE Part 2

A Class

One silent American with an electric kiln and masking skills




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