Thursday, 4 September 2014

Colouring Porcelain

Those of you who read my blog already know how much I love the old Japanese technique neriage (or nerikomi or agateware). Last time I visited my ceramic supplier, I bought some pretty colorants to stain my porcelain. Here are a few steps at colouring porcelain.

I soaked the mixture of dried porcelain and green colorant. I used a hand blender to mix them thoroughly. Once the slip is smooth enough, I spread it on a plaster bat to stiffen up.

As soon as the coloured slip reaches the right consistency, I can wedge it and wrap it with plastic to prevent porcelain from drying out. Properly packed porcelain remains moist for a long time. I will use a part of this green coloured porcelain to throw some small neriage cups on the wheel and the rest will probably end up as some pretty porcelain jewellery.








Saturday, 23 August 2014

Wanderlust


This is what I did on a first sunny day after months of rain. I went hiking.













Friday, 15 August 2014

How To Make Neriage Earrings?

 

In February this year I had my first exhibition in Vienna. During the month-long exhibition, I was surrounded by visitors who love ceramics but had a little or no knowledge of the different ceramic processes and methods. I often found myself explaining the aspects of my work that seemed so self-evident to me. When you work with clay for such a long time, it appears to you that everything about ceramics is self-explanatory.

Soon I realized that even though I had tagged my pieces as neriage, the visitors mostly didn’t know about this old Japanese technique.


Since I offer some of my neriage earrings in my etsy shop and I know some of my readers are not potters or clay artists, I will briefly explain the process.

My neriage earrings are made of porcelain in two colours: white and blue. To colour the blue porcelain, I soak some dried leftovers from trimming the porcelain and add the pigments. I put the coloured sludge on the plaster bat for a few hours and let it stiffen a bit. When the consistency is right I can wedge the porcelain.

Now I can assemble different layers of white and blue porcelain in a compact block. It is important that the block has no air bubbles. You should also make sure that the different coloured layers of porcelain are tightly pressed together to prevent cracking during firing.




When the neriage block is finished, I slice many thin sheets. I cut the block lengthwise, but you can also do it diagonally to get different patterns. I went for a simple white and blue stripe-pattern because I wanted to achieve some French Riviera fresh and summerly feeling.




I cut different shapes of small plates or beads and let them dry before I bisque fire them. At this point, the porcelain beads are quite rough and thick. Usually I sand them after the first firing because the porcelain is too delicate to handle as a green ware. So they get their final shape and smooth texture before I glaze them. This is a very time consuming part of the process and many of the beads get broken during the sanding.





After glazing them with a clear and transparent glaze they go to the kiln again.


So, the white and blue stripes are not painted but they are created with this demanding and time consuming Japanese technique.