Ceramics & Porcelain
CERAMICS: Ceramics are shaped from clay and then heated (fired) in a kiln to make them durable. The material that ceramics are made of and the finishing process create the different grades of ceramics:
- PORCELAIN: Porcelain (also termed china) is considered the finest ceramic because of its white color and translucent quality (ability to let light through) and its strength. It produces a bell-like ring when struck. Porcelain is made from kaolin (a pure white clay made from decomposed granite) and petuntse powder or flint feldspar. Three kinds of porcelain are hard-paste porcelain (fired at high temperatures so the body and glaze become one), soft-paste or frit porcelain (creamy in tone), and bone china (bone ash added for more translucency).
- STONEWARE: Stoneware is water-resistant made from gray or light brown clay fired at extremely high temperatures which causes the surface to become glossy so it is often not glazed. Most U.S. folk pottery is made of slat-glazed stoneware.
- EARTHENWARE: Earthenware is porous pottery made from a mixture of earthenware clays baked at a low temperature which allows them to be utilize the more colorful tin glazes. They must be glazed to be waterproof. They are very soft and easy to break (majolica, delftware, faience). Terra-cotta is an unglazed earthenware made from low-fired clay. Creamware was a lead-glazed earthenware made from white clay mixed with calcined flint.
Decoration techniques for ceramics include:
- Transfer printing (A copper plate is made and inked with ceramic pigment which is then transfered to paper in a press and then the paper is placed on the surface of the item.
- Decal (also decalcamania)
- Stencil (also called stampino)
The following are common styles of ceramics with their popular or most well-known description.
- CANTON The most common Canton Chinese export porcelain has blue and white landscapes with a stylized border.
- CAPO DI MONTE Capo di Monte is a soft-paste porcelain with molded relief fanciful figures in bright colors.
- CELADON Celadon was an early Chinese stoneware varying in color from gray-green to yellow-green.
- CLOISONNÉ Copper wire separates enamel colors made from glass paste pigments with metallic oxides.
- CREAMWARE Popular lead-glazed earthenware made of Devonshire white clay mixed with flint.
- DELFT (DELFTWARE) Delftware is a tin-glazed earthenware with an underglaze blue decoration.
- DERBY Derby is English porcelain with freely drawn floral patterns or bird and landscape patterns with moth, butterfly, and fruit borders.
- DOCCIA Doccia italian porcelain is most known for its bas-relief deoration of classical subjects (shells, peasants, chreubs).
- FAïENCE Faïence is a tin-glazed earthenware from France (also Germany and Scandinavia) with painted patterns in opaque bright colored glazes.
- FAMILLE ROSE Famille rose enamel uses a delicate opaque pink and metallic gold pigment with very precise drawings of flowers, birds, landscapes, tree trunks, and rocks.
- IMARI Imari is most known for its navy blue and iron-red (rust) colors, gilding with black outlining, and large lidded trumpet vases. Its motifs include oriental scenes, lotus flowers, and scroll borders.
- KARATSU Freehand geometric patterns, grasses, and wisteria were painted in iron oxide on a whitish slip. Japanese.
- KUTANI Kutani has bold large scale motifs and geometric patterns often with red and gold. Japanese.
- MAJOLICA Majolica was an Italian tin-glazed earthenware molded in shapes of nature often whimsical with brillant colors of lead glaze. Popular colors were yellow, orange, green, turquoise, blue, purple, brown, and black.
- MAYAN Classic Mayan ware (from Middle America) included delicate figures, polychrome cylindrical vases with scenes and glyphs from Mayan manuscripts and molded scenes of everyday life.
- MEISSEN Meissen porcelain urns from Germany had fanciful 3-D figures and porcelain flowers, 24K gold decoration, and white skin tones on figurines.
- MING This blue and white ware had carefully planned arrangements of dragons, scenes with people, peonies, lotus, and crysanthemums with foliage in decorative bands. Vases were usually baluster or pear shaped.
- OLD PARIS or PARIS This porcelain had elaborate scenic designs with lots of gold on handled urns.
- RAKU Raku ware is shaped by hand in asymmetrical forms with thick dripping irregular glazes in shades of brown, grey, red, yellow or yellow-green. The only decoration is the glaze poured along the jug with a portion always left unglazed.
- ROSE MEDALLION Colorful oriental scenes with peopleor floral butterfly, and bird decoration often with gilding.
- SATSUMA Ornate floral and oriental scenes with raised gold enameling outlines. Japanese.
- SEVRES Sèvres soft porcelain has birds, bouquets, trophies, flowers and borders using colors such as raspberry, gold, cream, and blue.
- STAFFORDSHIRE Staffordshire was English pottery with motifs of sporting dogs, folk figures, etc usually made in pairs.
- TOBACCO LEAF Pattern of leaves and flowers in multicolors.
- WEDGEWOOD Type of creamware (earthenware) with sculptured Greek and Roman ornamentation and a bisque finish.
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