This lesson allows students to explore colors while working with fired underglaze finishes. It’s important to use clay-based underglazes for this method because the carved dust is not harmful like fritted glaze products can be. Create unique patterns on flat tiles or allow the students to make their own clay shapes and fire ahead of time. Younger students will be most successful with free form designs.
Create a clay shape using a clay body of choice. Allow to dry and fire to appropriate temperature for the body selected. Cast or commercial bisque pieces can also be used. This method could be done on greenware or bisque. Bisque is recommended due to the pressure of carving and some may forget how fragile the greenware is and break items.
Use the Fan Glaze to apply one coat each of multiple colors of Velvet Underglazes. It’s recommended to start with Bright Red as your base color. When the colors are carved through later, you can tell students when they reach the red, they should stop. Going further means they will go through to the bare bisque, leaving white areas. Using black as the top color gives a rich look, but any color could be used.
With fresh, damp colors: Ceramic engraving art can be done while the underglazes are still damp and will allow the easiest removal of color. Make certain the top layer of color has lost all shine. Scraps from color being removed can become embedded in a wet surface, so you want it dry enough to prevent that from happening. The embossing tools work best with damp color because they are not as sharp. Various sized heads on the tools allow for varying thicknesses of carved lines. Carve out the desired designs and use a dry brush to dust away color. If the color becomes too dry, gently brush a coat of clean water over the top and allow to soak in and dry until the wet shine is gone. Continue carving.
With dry colors: You can also work with dry colors but will need sharper tools. The smallest-ended embossing tool will work or tools from the Engraving Art Tool Set. They all have sharper points and require more pressure to carve through the layers. The harder you press, the more colors you reveal. Applying uneven pressure will give you a variety of color.
Make sure the underglaze colors are all dry and use a dry brush to dust away any scraped color.
If you started with clay or greeware shapes to paint upon, fire to appropriate cone for clay body selected. If you began with bisque items that are going to be glazed inside and out, it’s best to fire them to a greenware firing. The layers you’ve applied are colored clay and can omit gases when firing and could result in pinholes, craters or imperfections in the glaze finish. If only glazing the outside you can proceed to the next step.
Apply two coats of clear transparent glaze, stilt or dryfoot and fire to cone 06.
Apply layers of colors as instructed in the basic process.
Begin by carving out any specific shapes you want to incorporate into your pattern.
Create random lines to break up the background and create open areas for making individual patterns.
Carve your patterns.
Finish as instructed in the basic process.
Place the stencil over the surface.
Use the carving tools or embossing tools to scratch away layers of color in the stencil openings.
Use the carving tools or embossing tools to scratch away layers of color in a freeform pattern.
You can add more layers of colors to create an even more colorful design. Overglazes like gold and silver could also be added after the glaze firing. Glass can also be fused to decorative ware like done in the bottom of the bowl. Ceramic engraving art can be completed with dap or dry colors. Advantages exist for both methods