Ceramics are made from clays with varying
composition. Modifiers and colorants
are added to alter the appearance and properties of the finished
ceramic. The clay mixture, also called the body, is shaped using
a variety of techniques including turning, coiling, and molding.
The shaped objects are heated in a kiln to drive off water and
realign the crystalline structure of the clay. The clay becomes
compacted and in some cases begins to melt during firing.
The common clay bodies are earthenware,
stoneware, and porcelain. Earthenware
is porous and often coarse bodied and has been fired at a relatively
low temperature. Stoneware is also often coarse bodied, but is
fired at a high enough temperature that the stoneware body is
impermeable to water even without a glaze. Stoneware can also
be smooth bodied as in Wedgwood Jasperwares, which are not glazed.
Porcelains are fine-bodied ceramics
that are fired at very high temperatures
to create a glass-like, vitrified body. Porcelain bodies fuse
with the glaze layer during firing. They are very strong and,
as a result, can be made very thin.
Ceramics are usually decorated with colored slips and glass slurries. The slips and slurries applied contain ground
glassy materials that melt upon firing to form a glaze. Colorants
and other minerals are used to modify the glaze to produce different
colors and effects.
- Save all the pieces.
- Don't do home repairs.
- Find a conservator.
Caring for Ceramics
Caring for Glass
Ceramics by Conservator
Ring Supports for Round