Pottery has always caught the interest of people all around the world. If you are artistic and creative there is nothing more interesting than learning how to decorate or paint pottery in order to create something beautiful. There are plenty of techniques in preparing, throwing, molding and decorating pottery, and once you learn to master the basics your imagination and natural flair will guide you.
Pottery decoration includes different pottery glazes, pottery painting, engraving and carving etc. Methods of glazing and applying the paint include dipping, spraying, pouring as well as brushing on. One popular method of decoration of pottery is “slip paintings” where multi-colored slips are applied to create designs or pictures on the clay surface. This type of slip painting is like traditional painting and is done with a brush. However it can also be done by dabbing with a sponge, the fingers or be trailed onto the clay surface.
Effects of slip trailing are a diverse and interesting pottery decorating technique that ranges from textural and linear to hard-edged and fluid. Marbling effects can be also got by shaking after the slips are applied. It is important to make sure that the piece is dried slowly with equal air flow on every part of the piece so that there is no cracking and warping.
The most common form of decorating pottery is glazes. Glazes can be applied one on top of the other to create beautiful effects. This technique is called “overglazing”. Sometimes these overglazes can be laid over a glaze that is “unfired” so that both can mature together at a particular temperature. “Under-glazes” are colorants that are applied to the piece before the actual glaze is laid on it. When they are fired, the beautiful colors automatically show through the top transparent glaze that covers it.
An “engobe” or “slip” is a liquid mixture/slurry that has a mixture of colors and clay. Clay can be worked upon to look like metal, leather and other materials. It is impressionable and by the use of various objects and tools one can make the surface of clay look amazing. The beauty of clay is that it is also carve-able. Designs and marks can be easily made on it when it is in the drying “leather-hard” stage so that these cuts can retain crispness.
Glazes on pottery give it luminosity, depth, and richness that is fantastic because of the light that passes through the layers of glazes that are transparent and then bounces/reflects back at us. If you are planning on painting the glaze then it is important to find out which of the pigments are opaque, transparent or semi-transparent. The colors that are transparent are the best for building rich and subtle colors through the layers.
One has to be very patient. If a glaze is applied on the paint that is not completely dry then there will be a mixing of paint in the layers. Use of a hairdryer is excellent when using acrylic paints. The paint has to completely dry and not be sticky. Also make sure that the thin paint layer does not puddle or collect in rough patches but lies very smoothly over the previous layer. Pottery is both decorative and useful and therefore is attractive. Vases, bowls, dishes as well as lamps can be painted and decorated to create real works of art.
Marion Clarke is an expert in pottery and has written many articles on it. Find out how to make your own pottery wheel and the best tools to use. Also learn about beautiful Polish Pottery and how to take care of it so it lasts a lifetime.
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