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 Tip for Today


Common Problems with Bisque-ware

   This month we are going to try to cover some of the most common problems that occur with ceramic bisque pieces.

     The most common problem we are asked about is bisque that will not take paint in spots. If you are painting with stains you could spray the item with a few coats of porcelain spray sealer, let dry thoroughly and then finish painting your piece. If you are painting with under-glazes you can sand the area lightly with a fine grade sandpaper, this will allow the under-glaze to adhere to the item.

     Another problem we find people come across when buying bisque from auctions is that some businesses may not have standards as high as what most of us would consider acceptable. When this happens you receive your item that you wanted to glaze except it is discolored in spots or it is yellowish brown in color.

      There are two possible causes for this, the first is that your item had been stored in a damp location and mold spores have begun to grow in spots on your piece.
Re-firing this piece will restore your item and will enable you to glaze the piece. The second cause of this would be that the item had been fired at too high of a temperature. Under this scenario re-firing the item will do absolutely no good, you really have no choice except to stain the item.


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Pattern Transfers
How to transfer pictures to Ceramic Bisque
by Dolores Swaldi [c] 2004

     Have you ever come across a pattern or a drawing in a book or magazine that you would like to paint onto your ceramic bisque. A picture that would accent that cookie tray, or would create a wonderful personalized gift for someone special. I have come across these from time to time and would try to draw them onto my bisque items. I was never very good at drawing these items freely, and after a short period of time I quickly realized that I was no Michael Angelo. I knew I would have to find some other way to paint these patterns onto my items.

     My next thought was to trace these patterns using carbon paper onto my item. This proved to be a difficult task, not only was it hard to line up the pattern exactly where I wanted, but while tracing on uneven or curved surfaces the picture would slide on top of the carbon paper and produced some unfavorable results. But when we tried the following technique it worked spectacularly. It allowed us to align multiple patterns accurately, and when the paper drifted it was immediately visible. This enabled us to realign our patterns to match its original position with ease.

     Our solution was something inexpensive, and readily available. Something that you probably have in your home already; ordinary tissue paper. When using tissue paper it is easier than ever to transfer a pattern or a picture to your ceramic bisque. Just place the tissue paper (the type used for gift wrapping) over the design you like. Gently trace your design with a pencil. To transfer this pattern, simply place the paper onto your ceramic item and trace over the pencil marks with a “sharpie” marking pen. The ink will seep through the tissue paper onto the bisque and the pattern is reusable. You may then use under glazes to color your pattern. ( As always you must seal your under glazes with a clear glaze to finish) When your item is fired all of the ink from the "sharpie" marker is burned off and only the glazes will remain.

We have produced many unique gifts for friends and family using this technique. Some of our favorite items to finish using this technique are plates, trays, bowls and mugs. Of course these are not the only items this technique works well on. The sky's the limit when you're painting ceramic bisque.



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About the Author:
Dolly Swaldi is the proprietor of this web site and has
been involved in the ceramic craft for over 28 years.

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