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MAJOLICA METHOD

Jan Pugh's love of clay began the first day she saw a real pot thrown way back in 1970.  http://www.packercreekpottery.com/

Jan Pugh's love of clay began the first day she saw a real pot thrown way back in 1970. That sight changed her life forever. She quickly enrolled in an adult night class at the Toledo Art Museum (at the time, she was only 14) where she learned all about throwing techniques. Jan has worked with clay from that moment on. http://www.packercreekpottery.com/



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Ceramics have always been popular in Spain and earthenware pottery has existed for thousands of years.
First came Iberian potter and later Greek and Roman then, with the conquest of the Arabs came the great luster of Malaga, which reached its height of beauty and sophistication in the 13th and 14th centuries AD.

Luster and the Majolica method of decorating are basically the same.
In the traditional Majolica method, bisque which is already fired clay, earthenware is covered with a glaze base of lead or tin oxide.
Metallic oxide glazes are then painted on top of the raw glaze base to form the decoration.
Finally, the glaze base and decoration are fired together to produce the finished piece. The result is a brightly colored, glossy surface that maintains and enhances the line, colors and quality of the decoration.

The Arabs made their ceramic luster using slightly different methods, firing them at a lower temperature, decorating them with pure metals to create the colors.
The metals they used were gold, silver, tin, platinum, and copper.
Silver and copper created brown, orange and red.
Reds sometimes appeared so dark as to look black.
The Majolica method developed from luster kept changing and evolving.
New ways of making colors were found, without having to use expensive metals, so work became cheaper, quicker and needed a higher temperature for firing.

It is thought that luster could have been brought to Malaga from Egypt, by way of the Muslim settlements in the Mediterranean islands, which were on the trade route between the two and Majorca was one of them.
Malaga was then the main Spanish port and the name Majolica is believed to have come from the island.

Luster started to be produced in Italy in the 15th century, but before this it had been importing luster from Spain for several centuries and the Majolica method had become known as maiolica and this change in spelling is believed to have transpired as the j did not exist in the Italian language.
It was greatly influenced by the Valencia style, leaving the white background, using similar figures, animals and borders but they gradually developed, creating beautiful different designs and colors.
Using the colored background, dark outlines and making the colors and the brush strokes much more subtle, the Italians became perfectionists in their work, in contrast to the more free and liberal style used in Spain.

The Majolica Method


"Majolica", "Valencia", or "Manises" are different names given to the same method of working.
Manises is the name of a town in Valencia that became the center for ceramic work in the 14th century and has continued up to today.

What sets the Majolica method apart from other techniques is that the decorating is done in one firing.
On to bisque, already fired clay, a white, opaque, earthenware glaze base known as tin oxide is applied.
Then the desired decoration is painted on to the raw glaze base with glaze colors.
The manipulation of the brush and colors are of great importance.
The colors are transparent so the brush strokes of each coat of color can be seen, one color painted on top of another forms a third or forth color.
The light usually comes from the left and to accentuate it, on this side a little of the white glaze base is not painted.
Shading can be the same color painted with different intensities or two different colors over lapping, violet with dark brown, yellow with ochre and many others.
When fired the glaze base and colors fuse together, they integrate and form a smooth, vitrified and unbroken surface which gives depth and strength to the colors.

This Is How It Is Done

Clean, sandpaper and dust the bisque.
Put the glaze base over the object to be decorated.
Jar and plates are dipped and over tiles it is thrown.
Clean the glaze off the footings of jars, plates and off the backs and edges of tiles.
A design is drawn on the transparent paper, flipped over and the lines are pounced. Pouncing is done by pricking small pin wholes through the paper following the outlines.
Make a dust bag.
Lay wood ash or vegetable ash in the middle of a small piece of material, pull up the four corners and hold them together with a rubber band.
The pounced design is laid on to the prepared work, the right ways round and correctly placed.
The pounced lines are rubbed with the wood ash bag and the ash passes through the holes and marks the design
The outlines are painted with a contrasting color.
The colors are painted onto your pottery.
The pottery is then put into the kiln and is fired at 980º.
Let the kiln cool and take the pottery out and see what your piece turned out like.

People who wake up and find themselves successful haven't been asleep.



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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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