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Mocha Diffusion is a technique that originated in England in the 18th century and was popular in the 19th century.
It consists of dribbling an acidic solution with coloring oxides onto a wet slip of a contrasting color.

The solution spreads in the slip with a tree fern like pattern.

Mocha Diffusion Technigue

Legend has it that in a pottery in Stoke-on-Trent around 1780 a drop of tobacco juice dripped on some slip and the distinct mocha fern magically appeared.
Maybe a potter was chewing some tobacco and spit on the pot!
A lot of times different things or techniques are discovered by accident and it is possible that is what happened here.

The name is supposedly derived from the Saudi Arabian town and religious center of Mecca, where the semi-precious agate stone was traded, which has a similar fern-like vein structure on its surface.

The Mocha Diffusion technique consists of making a concoction of tobacco juice and coloring oxides which in the pottery and ceramic world is called Mocha Tea.
Other forms of Mocha Tea use lemon juice or vinegar, anything that is slightly acidic.
In this day and age with all the choices there is of acidic ingredients.

It really doesn't make much difference what you use for acid, because it will burn up when it is fired anyway.

A typical recipe for Mocha Tea is shown below:

1 ounce of tobacco
1 pint of warm water
1 1/4 ounce of iron or manganese.

Mix in a pint jar.
Let this concoction set over night before you use it.
If you have some left over, you can seal the jar and use it the next time you want to decorate using the Mocha Diffusion technique.

The method is fairly simple and easy to do.
A leather hard piece of pottery is dipped in slip and the Mocha Tea is dribbled onto the wet slip surface.
The pattern can be influenced with the help of gravity by turning the pot on an angle so that the Mocha Tea solution runs in a particular direction.
A fern like pattern will appear as the acidic solution spreads through the more alkaline slip.

When I use this technique, I set my piece of pottery on a shelf for a couple days after I dribble the Mocha Tea on it and then I apply three coats of a clear glaze.
I again set my piece of pottery on a shelf to dry.
When it is warm to the touch, it is dry.
It is very important to make sure that your piece is completely dry because if it isn't, there is a chance it will explode in the kiln.

Here are some more examples of the Mocha Diffusion technique:

Mocha diffusion technique dip setMocha Pitcher

Now, sit back and enjoy your special creation!!!

Wear a smile and have friends; wear a scowl and have wrinkles!!!

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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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