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I'm Czech and I'm translating a school syllabus for pottery classes. I need some help. 

Is there a word in English for:

  • This shape which you get after centering and opening clay ( in Czech: "the basic shape"):


  • additives which make a clay body lighter because they burn out (e.g. peat, starch, sawdust,..) in Czech they are called "lighteners"
  • paints which are used on glaze fired pots and then fired again at 1,200 - 1,300 °C, very resistant on glaze paints. (in Czech something like "melt-in paints")

Finally,  is there an expression like "outer hand" and "inner hand" (hand positions for throwing)


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Marei, welcome to the forum. 

As to terms in English, you seem to have a good grasp at the English equivalents.  The process of throwing in English is considered with the following steps: Mastering the clay(some refer to it as coning the clay up and bringing it back down-wedging on the wheel, centering, with the wheel going counter clockwise uses the left hand braced to the hip and the right hand pulling the clay in against or alternatively placed on top to force the clay into the left hand, Then the opening up with the rt hand using the thumb or middle finger or even pointer or two fingers together, next is opening out or forming the donut (which your picture seems to show), then the first pull with the left hand fingers on the inside and thumb at the bottom outside, then pulling with the left hand inside and the rt hand outside pressure point slightly above the inside fingers, shaping   with fingers or hand inside and outside expanding or necking in the form, then trimming the excess and using a cut off wire to separate the pot from the wheel head.

Your outer hand and inner hand are correct however, they do not take into account which hand is which as when throwing on a clockwise turning wheel the hand are opposite from I described above. Not using the correct hand inside on the wheel turn is really trying to throw with a handicap, it can be done, but with much difficulty.


As to your definitions, we often call the lighteners = fillers.

The last on the paints, has several different names, depending. . . . some call them overglazes, as it is a glaze applied over another glaze usually already fired. Many times this paint you describe is made up of oils, and when firing releases odorous gasses because of the burning out of the oils, these are called lusters. Lusters are often metallic gold, silver or copper in color, or they could be even pearlescent over top of white glazes. Another paint, is China painting technique, where the paint pigment is again mixed with oil to the consistency of watercolor. The paint is applied light to dark, with the lightest colors applied first. Usually a white glaze is applied and fired first, but there are those that experiment with china paints over other colors.


I hope I have assisted you somewhat,





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Thank you sooo much for your detailed message! I've been looking for a "glossary" like this for ages! And you answered me so soon! (I didn't know if anyone would answer me at all :-)) That's why I came back so late.


Those overglazes are difficult. Are overglazes and overglaze paints two different things? What I'm supposed to translate is some "new" stuff. In Czechoslovakia, they started to use them in the 70's and I'm afraid they are something different than lusters or over glaze paints - those are usually fired at lower temperatures than 1,200 - 1,300 °C (2,200 - 2,350 °F), aren't they? These are supposed to melt into the glaze so you can't feel them with you fingers as another layer after firing. And I don't think I can use inglaze paints because those are applied on wet glaze but these ones on fired glaze. Those "in-melt" paints are supposed to look like this:



The second pair of pictures is "in-melt" cobalt before and after firing. Also gold and platinum can be used like this and fired at : gold 2,230 - 2,260 °F, platinum 2,260 - 2,300 °F.

Sorry for such a long message and for the trouble but you seem really into it and you've already helped me so much. Thank you!

Marie (my nick is a mistype) :-)



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