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How best to seal parian clay? And stoneware? (To avoid staining/marks/and protecting surface)

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Hi all,

I couldn't find any threads on sealing finished work - do direct me there if there is !

I've been making work with parian and love it, I'm trying to go larger and experimenting with different uses. However I wanted to query if there was a seal that I could be using to help protect the surface. I'm not interested in glazing, as I like the surface as is. My work is predominately decorative but should I experiment with some functional pieces I'm also keen to know about sealing that's food safe. I don't want to add too much of a shine to the surface/alter its look too dramatically - as close to the raw/natural look of the fired clay surface as possible.. Any ideas?

Also most of my experience has been with handbuilding black stoneware, again I love to keep them raw, matt, without a glaze on the surface - however, again I wonder if there is a seal I should/could be using to help prevent dust build up etc. and protect it without taking away from the surface and not adding shine.

Thanks in advance!!


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I have some old china dolls and a few newer black clay pieces. I’ve always cleaned them with mild soap and water. I imagine that large, pale Parian surfaces which are not cleaned often might acquire some stains that could be hard to remove, but the relative non-absorbency should prevent most permanent staining. There are removers for rust stains that should work on Parian (test first on inconspicuous spot) and other types of dedicated cleaners for other stains. Vinegar and water would be my first attempt. Hydrogen Peroxide solution also, for mild bleaching without damage. 
The beautiful Wedgewood dinnerware is made of Parian, with no additional glaze. I wouldn’t leave my blueberry cobbler sitting on it overnight, though. 

Edited by Rae Reich
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  • 3 months later...

@Hulk & @Rae Reich - thank you for your responses! I'm having trouble with this forum not letting me know I've had any replies, so I'm sorry not to have seen this!

Glad to have some confidence about the parian surface. The pieces are mainly decorative, but I was also interested in experimenting with plants in some. I've not had trouble with water absorbing in general but wanted to know if there was anything else I should be thinking about to protect the 'white' surface for as long as possible.

Re. my unglazed stoneware question, I'll try and ask where it's more relevant as still would like to know what best to do for protecting those pieces.

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