Colour and Clay


Test Tiles Porcelain

Achieving desired colours in ceramics is a fine art. The colours applied at the un-fired stage is never as it appears once fired. This results can be likened to working blind. Unexpected results can be overcome by rigorously and methodically testing new slip colours.

Using line blends consisting of 6 slips and oxides results in 15 possible combinations by mixing two of the raw materials together. It involves stepping out of ‘creative’ mode and applying ‘analytical’ skills (not something that comes easily to me).

The next step is applying these blends onto test tiles. It is important that the test tiles are created using the same techniques and clay that will be used on a final piece of work. For example, I will paint the colours on, as opposed to dipping, as this is the method I will finally use. A transparent glaze will be applied following a biscuit firing but the possibilities can be increased by trying the blends under various glazes. The possibilities really are endless.

Once fired I have a clearer idea of how the results will appear in future firings. This information allows me to re-create the colours in paint that in turn enables me to create designs on paper before committing to the final ceramic piece.


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