Spring 2013

Shades of Grey

When I began tape casting this summer I pictured my final products to have a uniformly pristine surface void of color or pattern. As time went on and I finally saw a finished product I realized that keeping the surface of every tile in the necklace completely white would be a missed opportunity. My intentions now are to dive into a week-long rapid fire round of surface tests centering around five main techniques:

1. Glaze: Gloss vs. Matte [finding a stable clear glaze with a good fit to contrast the bare clay pieces]
2. Glaze: Tape Casting the glaze recipe above
3. Glaze: Once Firing Glaze [connecting to points #1 & #2 – once-firing is important because I do not bisque the tape cast clay]
4. Color: Achieving a soft shade of grey [by coloring the slip, glaze or underglaze with grey mason stains or oxides such as manganese or nickel]
5. Pattern: Laser etching

Possible Uses for These Five Techniques

-Etching over underglaze to expose clay underneath/Underglaze or colored slip inlay
-Layering white slip over grey slip or vice versa and etching into the top layer to expose the color underneath
-Laser cutting and laminating sheets of colored slip to show different patterns/colors within each individual tile
-Using solid colored tiles to highlight pattern within the larger pattern of the overall piece
-Tape casting sheets of glaze and laser cutting them to fit each ceramic piece perfectly and firing them together
-Laser cutting patterns from tape casted sheets of glaze and overlaying them onto the tiles like a vinyl decal, firing them to the surface to achieve pattern with gloss against matte

This afternoon I began my process:


My main goal was to see the fired color of the three grey mason stains we keep here in the studio. I mixed the stains into small batches of slip and small batches of underglaze. In the slip I added 10% mason stain to get the truest color. In the past I have worked with black mason stain in low percentages in an effort to get a soft shade of grey but the results were blue, due to the high level of cobalt present in black & grey stains. I found an underglaze recipe online, and felt it was a little more complicated than it needed to be so for my small batches I mixed 5g. EPK, 5g. Frit 3124 and 5g. mason stain with enough water to make a mixture the consistency of heavy cream. Unfortunately when water gets added to the surface of the tape caste tiles they bow and warp so depending on how this firing goes I may try to tape casting the underglaze recipe to eliminate the issue of moisture.

One comment on “Shades of Grey

  1. New Paltz Ceramics
    October 2, 2013

    Did I see advanced results of this test come out of the kiln? It seems you already tape cast and layered them. Where are you going from here?

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This entry was posted on September 26, 2013 by and tagged , , , , , , , .
Daniel SanGiacomo

aka Daniel Aktas

Kelsey Anne

Keep your Dreams alive. To acheive anything you must understand that it requires faith and belief in yourself. Remember, all things are possible for those who dont stop believing.

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