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Antiquing Your Pottery
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Salt and Soda Glazing
Slip Decorating
Special Effects and Fine Details
Decorating with Stencils
Terra Sigillata

After the mold has set for about ten or fifteen minutes, the excess slip is poured out of the mold and it is left to dry over night.
A good indication of when a piece is dry enough to open, is when you see that the clay has pulled away from the sides of the mold.
Use a fettling knife to clean the excess clay from the pour hole and the bottom of the ceramic piece.
Some people like to use an exacto knife, but I do not recommend this.
The reason being, it is sharp enough to readily cut into the plaster of your mold and damage it.
When the excess clay has been cut out of the pour hole, lay the mold on its side and remove the mold bands or straps and carefully open the mold so that the piece may dry further.

This is how to, Remove Leather Hard Ceramics From A Mold.

Be careful and lift one part of the mold straight up, so as not to damage the piece.
Often the mold is left on its side after the top half is lifted away to let it dry to the leather hard stage.
When the clay is firm enough to stand on its own it is referred to as greenware.
Do not take it out of the mold if it is soft enough to sag or droop.
It can not be so wet that your hands distort it when you handle it.
If a piece is taken out of a mold too wet and handled, a lot of the detail on the piece can be rubbed away also.
After several hours or overnight, the piece is removed from the mold and allowed to dry thoroughly on a grid, this allows for the air to get around and up inside of the piece.
When it is first removed from the mold, the clay will be dark gray.

Care of Ceramic Greenware

When the ceramic is dry, it will be light gray and is called greenware.
Greenware is very fragile and must be handled with great care.
Never pick up a piece of greenware by the edge, or the edge might be all you have left in your hand.
Handle the greenware with both hands, gently sliding your fingers under it to lift, turn or move it.

Always cradle the piece of greenware in one hand and work with the other.
This way you will have a good feel for the amount of pressure you are putting on the greenware and are less likely to break it.
The edges and seams should be carefully removed with a cleaning tool.
Use the flat end of the tool, not the curved end, to gently scrape away the seam line, moving diagonally across the seam line, never straight up and down the seam.
If you move straight up and down you'll end up gouging into the greenware and making a dip where the seam line once was.
When you can run your thumb across the seam line without feeling any difference between it and the rest of the piece, you are ready to move on.

Now, use a pot scrubber to gently sand and smooth the area, moving in a circular motion.
Be careful not to allow your nails to scrape or gouge into the clay.
If any detail has been lost in the cleaning or when the ceramic was removed from the mold, take the curved end of the tool to re carve it back in.

Now, hold your piece so that you can clean the rim.
If you are working with a piece like a vase, you can gently scrape off the excess clay with your cleaning tool, then smooth with a pot scrubber.
If the piece is extremely rough or uneven, you can use some sanding screen placed over a grid and use a circular motion.
Be careful though, screen can take away more than you want it to if you sand away without paying careful attention.
When the piece is evened out use your pot scrubber to sand it smooth.

Now use a damp, not wet, sponge to smooth the rim and seam lines.
Clean away the greenware dust with the sponge and smooth the piece all over if necessary.


Do not dump clay or clay water down your drain, cause clay will plug drains, it won't take long before it will be plugged tight!!
Again the piece is allowed to dry thoroughly.
When dry, carefully carve your name or initials into the bottom of your ceramic.
Details can be painted on the greenware at this point using Cover Coats or EZ Strokes.
Otherwise the piece is ready to be fired to Cone 04 in the kiln and painted later as bisque.
If you want it glazed you can put three coats on your bisque piece now.
If you glaze the bottom, the piece will have to be stilted.
Let it completely dry before it is fired, it will feel warm to the touch.
Fire your piece again according to the firing info on the glaze bottle.

Ceramics aren't hard to do and you can make some very pretty pieces.
Today, it is great, because there are so many neat statues and vases to choose from.
The decorating is up to you, go ahead, dive in and create a masterpiece!

It is a consolation to know that no one can make a fool out of you but yourself.

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Have you ever come up with a good idea while working with your handmade pottery and thought that you would like to share it with others? You have? Well, why not send it to us and we will add it to the tips page for all to see.

Handmade pottery can be a very gratifying hobby that produces fun and satisfying results. For many people it's an enjoyable release that is created by working an inanimate mound of clay into a beautiful work of art that you made through your artistic abilities.

The best way of starting out is to take a few lessons from Youtube. You will probably waste quite a bit in materials when you first get started. Figuring out how to truly make handmade pottery correctly and shape into what you want it to be can be quite an ordeal. The different tools that a normal shop will have can be fun to try. You will soon see which ones you like to use the most and then when you are ready you will know which ones to buy.

With the help of the internet, you can now purchase most if not all of your ceramic and pottery tools and supplies online. We are located far from any well supplied dealers and yet working with reliable ceramic and pottery suppliers online has allowed us to recieve most of our orders within a timely manner.

When you get all set up, just enjoy the hobby and have fun at it. Some people get pretty serious and start selling their creations at craft fairs and small stores, but others just like to create items for themselves, relatives, and friends. Whichever kind of handmade pottery you desire to endeavor, enjoy the hobby and have fun doing it.

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