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8 minutes ago, Dennis Calderbank said:

Hi guys, I was wondering if anyone has been successful in getting pigment powders to work in decorating your work prior to firing and what are the limitations if indeed it can be done. Most pigments have a temperature threshold before getting destroyed in high temperature firings. Any help would be appreciated.

Not sure your use but mason stains withstand various firing temperatures and are quite common for pottery use.

start reading here http://www.masoncolor.com/ceramic-stains

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1 hour ago, Dennis Calderbank said:

Hi Bill, thanks for that but I was referring to everyday pigment powders as used by resin artists  or artists that make their own paints such as oils, watercolours and acrylics.

 

Yes, I am familiar my wife is a brush artist as well as a ceramicist. Some of those pigments may last to some temperature but really ceramic artist put so much effort and time into their work they really need something that will make it through the firing reliably and safely. In many cases mason stains and underglazes are created using basic pigments but encapsulated or molecularly bound so they do not melt and remain food safe. Many artists paint with underglaze and mason stains just as you would on your  canvas in your medium of choice.

So to answer your question I don’t think many ceramicists use ordinary pigments In the same sense of mixing your paints as you may be accustomed. Instead they use many of the same pigments to color their glazes and use mason stain and underglaze to paint and decorate with because they are more suitable to their process. In many ways it ends up very different than mixing a palette of colors with your favorite medium, but can be similar when mixing mason stains which are more suited to this use and last through the firing.

I guess I need to ask specifically how are you proposing to use your pigments? Are you trying to paint on ceramics prefire  and what look are you attempting to achieve in the end?

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Early in my ceramics training, a self-assigned project was to take all of the available (from my paint box and the school studio cupboard) watercolor, oil, and acrylic paints that used metal containing ingredient pigments to see if the paint would produce a color mark when applied to bisque ware and fired in our gas kiln.  My memory was the test was on Longhorn White and Longhorn Red clay bodies fired at cone 3 (around ~1150 C) in oxidation.  The results were what one would expect from a wash of the metal oxide on to the surface of the clay, but with one caveat; many of the paint pigment indigents had an organic component attached to the metal element which means that the metal concentration in the resulting fired mark was significantly  lower than expected based on the amount of "paint" applied.   I later used Liquitex cobalt blue paint to make decorative marks on the outside of some small porcelain cups.  Worked just fine - bright cobalt blue marks fully fused to the porcelain at cone 10 in a gas reduction kiln -- the result met my expectation. 

So the short answer to your question is Yes, if the paint pigment contains an ingredient containing metal element.  I still occasionally use black iron acrylic paint to make marks on leaf impressions by embedding the painted leaf in the wet clay.  The leaf and acrylic medium burns out leaving an iron stain from the painted leaf on the bisqued clay. 

The paint ingredients in commercial artist paints are coded in pigment numbers; there is a magic decoder table that gives the chemical composition of each pigment number which should be available from your favorite internet search engine.   Most of the artist media used in schools have switched to nonmetallic ingredients; the professional artist pigments still had both organic and metal-containing ingredients when I lasted looked, about 4 years ago (when I did the same test but using fused glass instead of clay substrates.  

I agree with Bill that artist painting after firing will not provide the blending of colors commonly found in oil/water/acrylic paintings.   However, I also recall a colleague that painted a scene with watercolor and acrylic for a plaque designed using clay. This was after he had done some trials with the paints he intended to use.  The plaque was wonderful after it was fired to cone 10.    

If you are interested in this approach, GO DO IT! first step is to make a trial run of paints on a slab of clay, carefully marked and coded to compare after the firing. Then use the test pieces to guide your way into this art segment of combining painting with ceramics.

mtfbwy
LT

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Thank you to Bill and Magnolia Mud for your assistance with this matter. My reason for asking is to make sure I don't mislead my customers as I am a purveyor of powdered pigments here in Australia and I have had lots of enquiries about using my pigments in ceramics. The manufacturers tell me they are good up to 800 c but for some that is not enough. You help with this matter is very useful. My wife and daughter have also just purchased their first kiln so this will help in that also. Many thanks once again.

Kind regards from Western Australia.

Dennis

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2 hours ago, Dennis Calderbank said:

Thank you to Bill and Magnolia Mud for your assistance with this matter. My reason for asking is to make sure I don't mislead my customers as I am a purveyor of powdered pigments here in Australia and I have had lots of enquiries about using my pigments in ceramics. The manufacturers tell me they are good up to 800 c but for some that is not enough. You help with this matter is very useful. My wife and daughter have also just purchased their first kiln so this will help in that also. Many thanks once again.

Kind regards from Western Australia.

Dennis

You are welcome. Typical firing temps for ceramics:

low fire  = 1063c

mid fie = 1222c

high fire = 1285c

mid Fire is probably most popular, and mid and high fire most appropriate for functional wares used for foods and liquid in general.

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