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Published Jun 2, 2023

ceramic surface design techniques

Plates are an ideal form on which to play around with ceramic surface design techniques. That flat, blank canvas is just begging for surface decoration. But to create successful decoration on a plate, you need to consider principles of design.

In today's post, an excerpt from his video Unifying Form & Surface: How to Complement Your Pots with Pattern, Color, & Design, Sean O'Connell shares some simple underglaze techniques, which when used together, create a beautiful surface with depth and nuance. Have a look and then play around on some plates in your own studio! - Jennifer Poellot Harnetty, editor


This clip was excerpted from Unifying Form & Surface: How to Complement your post with Pattern, Color, & Design, which is available in the Ceramic Arts Network Shop.

Ceramic Surface Design Techniques - Principles to Consider

ceramic surface design techniquesFor many ceramic artists, the surface is the most challenging part of the ceramic process. Because the forming techniques are challenging on their own, often beginning potters just slap any old glaze on their work when it comes time to finish the pot. But in the most successful ceramic work, principles of design are used every step of the way - from forming through glazing.

The principles of design describe the ways that artists use the elements of art in a work of art and are very important for the ceramic artist to consider. These principles include balance, emphasis, movement, pattern, rhythm, repetition, variety, and unity.

For some additional ceramic surface design techniques and tips, check out this post from Linda Arbuckle, who explains her design choices with the majolica glaze technique. The principles of design are always top of mind for Linda when forming and decorating her pots and Linda is very good at explaining her choices!

If you are looking for more geometric rigid decoration, check out Yoshi Fujii's techniques for carving designs in clay. Yoshi uses a flexible ruler and a decorating disc to make sure his repetitive geometric designs are precise.