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Question about alternative finishes for ceramics & acceptance by ceramic artists

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. . .  but we must stress that paint is not as durable as ceramic glazing and should only be used for decorative purposes as a sculptural art piece. A benefit to painting instead of glazing is the control that can be had of line, mark or image. There is always an element of surprise when a piece is removed from the kiln  after a glaze firing. Due to the nature of the ceramic glaze becoming liquid in the high temperature of a kiln, most glazes tend to move, flow, run, or change color and details and hard edges can be difficult to achieve.

I studied Art Ed, at a smaller school. We did not have much in the way of a BA or BFA, more of BS in Art ED.  We had a Ceramics professor, Sculpture and Metals professor, two Painting professors, a Printmaking professor, an Art History professor, and others that came and went. Most of these would cross teach classes as needed especially art history and appreciation. Students from the general population had to take art electives, and there were also some older adults taking enrichment classes.

It was the Turn of the 70's, art was still big, and art ed was a good place to be. There were arrogant teachers, and lechers, and good ones and bad ones. I had them all, and saw a lot of what we understand today as prejudices, much between disciplines as if they were political parties of today. However, because it was a small school, with focus on education, much of what is mentioned here did not occur. I was always encouraged to search out solutions and alternatives. We did quite a bit of that, and at the same time had some guidance to keep us from making unexperienced or uneducated mistakes. Rifles would be fired through blocks of clay, and the pieces fired to low temp, ant hills turned into metallic sculptures by poured metal into the hole, and many other things that I can remember. However, much of what we did was often edged with the idea that in clay there were 3 basics. . . .functional, decorative, and sculptural. These 3 would have different rules and understanding based on their use. Functional ware needed to be able to used without exposing the user to harm of any sort. Decorative pieces were free game, and could be a variety of finishes, as could sculpture that was considered to be decorative taken to high art(whatever that means). 

When I taught high school, I often would have students wanting to finish something with paint. Most only had access to tempera, some to acrylic, or oils. I fired the pots in the early days, and allowed them to finish them cold. Explaining to them that once done it was done. I found out often later that they regretted their decisions when they saw pieces come out of the kiln with the "kiss of heat surprise".  The secret, and it is just that to good pottery is to use the surprise to your advantage and to control the results.  However,  if it is out of the range of Functional, anything goes.




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