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Glossary of Ceramic Terms
Page 1

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.

Crackled glaze (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 glaze.

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.

Cuerda seta ("dry cord") 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 tin-glazed earthenware.

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 crackled.

Flux - A melting agent causing silica to change into a glaze.

Foot - The base of a ceramic form.

Frit - A glaze material derived from flux and silica which are melted together and reground into a fine powder.

Glaze A glassy coating that gives a smooth, shiny surface to ceramics and seals porous ceramic bodies.

High fire glaze A final glaze that fires at a high temperature.

Glaze firing The final firing with glaze.

Gloss Glaze A shiny reflective gloss.

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 or copper.

Majolica A corruption of the term maiolica, which refers to a type of 19th-century earthenware in elaborate forms with thick, brightly colored glazes.

< Back to Glossaries                                                                     Page 2 >

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