Glossary of Ceramic Terms
Agate ware A
type of pottery resembling agate due to the partial blending of
different colored clays.
Bisque ware Unglazed porcelain
or earthenware fired only once.
Bone Dry Pottery which is
completely air dried.
Burnishing - The ancient rubbing
process of burnishing polishes the outside skin of a clay pot while
greatly reducing its porosity. This finishing is done by hand, using
a stone or a metal piece which is usually embedded in a wad of wet
clay that perfectly fits the burnisher's hand.
Coil method A piece of clay
rolled like a rope, used in making pottery.
Cachepot An ornamental container
for flower pots. A smaller version of a jardiniere.
(craquelure) A deliberate crackled
effect achieved by firing ceramics to a precise temperature.
Crazing A tiny, undesirable
surface cracks caused by shrinking or other technical defects in a
Crawling - A bare spot (from the
shrinking of a glaze) on a finished piece where oil or grease
prevents the glaze from adhering to pottery.
technique When thin bands of waxy resist maintain color
separation between glazes during firing, but leave behind "dry
cords" of unglazed tile.
Delftware Tin-glazed earthenware
made in Delft in the Netherlands.
Dry-Foot To keep the foot or
bottom of a pot free from glaze by waxing or removing the glaze.
Earthenware A term for a type of
red or white pottery that is porous and requires a glaze.
Enamel A form of decoration
involving the application of metallic oxides to metal, ceramics, or
glass in paste form or in an oil-based mixture, which is then
usually fired for decorative effect
Englobe - Colored clay slip used
to decorate greenwear or leather hard pieces before bisque firing.
Faience A French term for
Firing The process of baking
ceramics in a kiln. Temperatures range from 1500-2000º F. for
earthenware to 14000ºC (2550ºF) for the second firing of hard-paste
porcelain and stoneware.
Flambe A glaze made from copper,
usually deep crimson, flecked with blue or purple, and often faintly
Flux - A melting agent causing
silica to change into a glaze.
Foot - The base of a ceramic
Frit - A glaze material derived
from flux and silica which are melted together and reground into a
Glaze A glassy coating that
gives a smooth, shiny surface to ceramics and seals porous ceramic
High fire glaze A final glaze
that fires at a high temperature.
Glaze firing The final firing
Gloss Glaze A shiny reflective
Greenware Unfired pottery that’s
ready to be bisque fired.
Grog Ground up fired clay to mix
with clay to add texture.
Kiln - A furnace of refractory
clay bricks for firing pottery and for fusing glass.
Leather hard - Stage of the clay
between plastic and bone dry in which the clay is still damp enough
to join it to other pieces using slip. For example, this is the
stage handles are applied to mugs.
Lustreware Pottery with an
iridescent surface produced using metallic pigments, usually silver
Majolica A corruption of the
term maiolica, which refers to a type of 19th-century
earthenware in elaborate forms with thick, brightly colored glazes.
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