I frequently get asked about how I get the rich, luscious colors that I use for creating. In most instances, it is a blend of pigments called Mason Stains that get added to the clay body. The porcelain is literally teal or black or gray or some other fabulous color that I get the great fortune of creating with.
It starts with a blend of stains being added in powdered form to the porcelain. I generally do this when the porcelain is around "yogurt" consistency. A lot of testing occurs before I make a "large batch"(a large batch for me is a yogurt container!) and there have been times where I have tested over 20 combinations of stains/ratios of stains to porcelain/temperatures to come up with the one I end up using.
I stir the powder into the clay with a spoon or a fork as best I can until it is evenly mixed. Then, I switch over to a stick mixer. In the past, I used one that lived in the studio where I work, but now I use one that my mother passed on to me one of the times she upgraded. It is old and reliable, even if it squeals shrilly from time to time. I just tell people it is REALLY excited about colored clay!
After the color is mixed through thoroughly for several minutes, I spread the porcelain out on a plaster slab so some of the moisture can be absorbed. After this, the porcelain is wedged thoroughly - just more ensuring the color is evenly mixed through and the clay body is ready for working and (hopefully) sans air pockets.
When this has all been completed, then it is time to get down to the business of creating the forms, adding ornamentation, etc.
It's a lot of science, a lot of work, and for me a ton of fun and extremely satisfying.
I hope you've enjoyed this sneak peak into a part of my work process!
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