Underglaze is a magical material in the ceramics world. There are so many things you can do with it, from the mishima ceramic technique to underglaze transfer paper and from the leather-hard stage through the bisque stage. Sean O’Connell chooses to decorate most of his pots with underglaze painting techniques in the bone-dry stage. The advantage to decorating in this stage is that he can easily clean up mistakes by wiping off the offending mark with a damp sponge.
In today’s post, an excerpt from his greatly anticipated new video Unifying Form and Surface: How to Complement Your Pots with Pattern, Color, and Design, Sean decorates a cup form with simple repeated underglaze painting techniques. – Jennifer Poellot Harnetty, editor.
This clip was excerpted from Unifying Form and Surface: How to Complement Your Pots with Pattern, Color, and Design with Sean O’Connell, which is available in the Ceramic Arts Network Shop.
Make surfaces that stand out when you download this freebie, Five Great Decorating Techniques.
More on Sean’s Underglaze Painting Techniques
The loose brushwork pattern Sean adds in the bone-dry stage gets enhanced in the glaze firing when his clear glaze pulls on the underglaze brushmarks and makes them run and streak. Sometimes Sean adds to the effect by layering gold luster on top, as shown in the finished cups below. As he demonstrates on his video Unifying Form & Surface, Sean also layers underglazes, washes, and uses stencils and wax resist to add further depth to his surfaces.
Other Resources for Slip or Underglaze Painting Techniques
Another contemporary artist who does amazing brushwork is North Carolina potter Michael Kline. Michael does his brushwork decorating techniques in the greenware and bisque-fired stages. In this pottery video from the archives, he shows how he uses paper cups to warm up for brushwork decoration or play around with new marks.
A different twist on brushwork decoration is majolica (sometimes called maiolica). Majolica is decoration that is brushed onto a surface that has had a base layer of a white tin glaze brushed on first. Linda Arbuckle is one of the best known contemporary majolica artists.