Ceramic Terms

  • Airbrush : n atomizer that uses compressed air to spray liquid. In ceramics, used for spraying oxides, underglazes, glaze stains, china paint, and lusters.
  • Alkaline Glazes : Glazes in which the fluxes are alkalies (mainly sodium and potassium). The earliest glazes developed in the Near East were alkaline.
  • Alumina : One of the refractory (high+melting) materials in glazes.
  • Armature : A framework of any rigid material used as a support while building clay sculpture. Most armatures must be removed before firing.



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Scuola d’arte Ceramica

Ceramics manufacture techniques at Deruta MOD

Professor Boccini’s Ceramics
  • Ashes : In ceramics, ashes from trees, plants, or animal bones may provide fluxes for use in glazes.
  • Ball Clay : Aplastic, fine+grained secondary clay. Often containing some organic material, it is used in clay bodies to increase plasticity, and in glazes to add alumina. Ball clay fires to a grayish or buff color .
  • Banding Wheel : A turntable that can be revolved with one hand to turn a piece of pottery or sculpture while the other hand decorates it.
  • Bas+Relief (or Low Relief) : Three+dimensional modeling that is raised only slightly above a flat background.
  • Bat : A plaster disk or square slab usually 3/4 to 1 V2 in. thick on which a pot is thrown or is placed to dry when removed from the wheel. Also used when handbuilding.
  • Batch : A mixture of glaze materials that have been blended in certain proportions to obtain a particular glaze or clay body.
  • Bisque (biscuit) : Unglazed ceramic ware that has been fired at a low temperature to remove all moisture from the clay body and to make handbuilding easier during glazing.
  • Bisque Firing : The process of firing ware at a low temperature, usually from cone 01 to 05, to produce bisque ware.
  • Bizen Ware : Produced in Japan in wood+fired kilns in which the pots are stacked along with straw that is high in silica content. Its combustion causes fire markings.
  • Body : Any blend of clays and non plastic ceramic materials that is workable and that has certain firing properties. Clay bodies are formulated to serve particular purposes and to achieve maturity at various firing temperatures. See earthenware, stoneware, and porcelain .
  • Brushing : In ceramics, the application of slip, engobe, or glaze with a brush.
  • Burner : The system through which fuel, combined with air, is fed into the kiln, creating the necessary mixture for combustion.
  • Burnishing : Rubbing leather hard or dry clay with any smooth tool to polish it, tighten the clay surface, and compress the clay particles.
  • Casting : In ceramics, the process of forming pottery or sculpture by pouring liquid clay (slip) into a plaster mold.
  • Celadon : The western name for a type of glaze first used in china on stoneware and porcelain in an attempt to imitate the color and texture of jade. Its colors range from shades of green to gray green tones.
  • Centering : The act of forcing a lump of clay by hand into a symmetrical form at the center of a spinning potters wheel in preparation for making pottery.
  • Centrifugal force : The force generated by a rotating potters wheel that tends to impel the clay outward from the center of the wheel head. The action of a potters hands in conjunction with this force causes the wall to rise.
  • Ceramics : Objects made from earthy materials with the aid of heat, or the process of making these objects.
  • China : A term usually applied to any white ware fired at a low porcelain temperature. It was developed in Europe to compete with the expensive imported Chinese porcelain.
  • China clay : Primary clay, or kaolin, that is white, refractory , and not very plastic.
  • China paint : An opaque overglaze paint that is fired onto already fired glaze ware at various low range temperatures. Because of the low range temperatures used, colors like red or orange do not burn out. Sometimes called overglaze enamel.
  • Chuck : An open container used to hold work in place while trimming on the wheel.
  • Clay : A variety of earthy materials formed by the decomposition of granite. In the process, these may have been combined with a variety of other materials, forming clay bodies with differing maturing points.
  • Clay body : See body.
  • Coiling : A method of forming pottery or sculpture from rolls of clay melted together to create the walls.
  • Crawling : Characterized by bare, unglazed areas of fired ceramic ware alternating with thickened glaze areas. Usually caused by surface tension in the molten glaze pulling it away from areas of grease or dust on the surface of the bisque ware.
  • Crazing : Unintentional cracks that occur over the entire glaze surface because the glaze expands and contracts more than the clay body to which it was applied. Caused by improper “fit” of glaze to clay.