Bisque Preliminary firing to harden the ware for glazing.
Burnishing Dry polishing of a hardened unfired piece, producing a glaze-like surface.
Casting A method of reproducing in quantity by using liquid clays and molds.
Celadon Glaze A gray-green semi-opaque to opaque glaze (reduction fired).
China Paint A low fire glaze decoration applied to already glazed and fired whiteware or porcelain.
Clay Body A composition of various ceramic materials.
Coiling Building the walls of pottery with rope-like rolls of clay, then smoothing the joints.
Cone A thin, finger-length pyramid of ceramic material made to bend and melt at prescribed temperatures, providing a visual indication of temperature in the kiln.
Crackle Glaze One featuring minute, decorative surface cracks, sometimes accented by rubbing with color.
Crystal(line) Glaze Those featuring clusters of crystal-like shapes or colors within a more uniform, opaque glaze.
Earthenware Tan or reddish pottery fired at a low temperature. In an unglazed form, its porosity prevents it from holding liquids.
Glaze General term for the glassy surface coating of pottery.
Hand Built The finished object is assembled by hand. It may include wheelthrown, cast, coiled and/or slab elements.
Inlay A technique of decoration in which the object is incised with a design, a colored clay is pressed into the incision, and the piece is then scraped to confine the colored inlay to the incisions.
Low Fired Clay fired at a temperature sufficient to fuse it into a solid mass, but too low to make it completely non-absorbent.
Low Fire Glazes Low-temperature finishes, usually associated with bright and shiny colors.
Luster A metallic or iridescent effect resulting from the application of a thin film of metallic oxide.
Mat(te) Glaze A non-gloss or dull-surface glaze.
Oxidation (or Oxidation Fired) Firing ceramic ware at high temperatures without adjusting the atmosphere inside the kiln. It results in lighter, brighter colorations of glazes.
Porcelain A hardy clay body which is white and sometimes translucent.
Raku Porous earthenware originally made in Japan and associated with the Tea Ceremony. It often has a scorched look: a result of the rapid cooling in combustible materials.
Reduction (or Reduction Fired) Firing ceramic ware at high temperatures in the presence of added carbon to reduce the percentage of oxygen in the kiln. This produces muted and subtle color variations.
Saggar A clay box in which pottery is fired to protect the ware from flame and ash.
Salt Glaze A hard, glassy glaze resulting from the vapors created by the introduction of salt into the hot kiln atmosphere. It frequently results in an orange-peel texture.
Sawdust-Fired A primitive firing technique in which slow-burning sawdust produces subtle gradations of color.
Slab Built Ceramic ware formed from flat pieces or slabs.
Slip Casting Producing objects using plaster molds and liquid clay (slip). This method allows for multiple reproduction of the same design.
Slip Glazes Watery clay used for decorative effects and applied by pouring, dipping, brushing, and spraying.
Stain Any oxide or prepared pigment used for coloring bodies, slips, or glazes.
Stoneware Natural clay, or blend of clays, which is fired over 2100 degrees Fahrenheit for little or no absorbency. It differs from porcelain principally in color, being gray, tan, or reddish.
Terra Cotta Hard, unglazed, brown-red earthenware clay, most often used for ceramic sculpture, including small figures and architectural ornaments.
Underglaze Pigments applied to the raw clay or bisque and covered with a transparent glaze, having the advantage of permanence.
Wax Resist Decoration by applying wax to pottery or a layer of glaze so that a successive layer of glaze will not adhere to the wax-decorated area.
Wheel Thrown Forming pottery by the action of the potter’s fingers and hands against clay centered on the revolving platform of a potter’s wheel.
- This glossary was developed by the Southern Highland Craft Guild and is used with permission