Incised and Then – Color the Lines or Not?

I thought I’d go right into some of the clay work I just took out of the kiln. Incised tiles today.

These tiles are white clay, Standard #181, fired at cone 5. They are examples of working by incising lines with a ribbon tool, bisque firing, painting the tiles with black underglaze (Velvet Jet Black), rinsing off, and then brush- painting with other colors of Velvet underglazes. I’m happy with how these came out.

Here is the same white clay – but I left the lines blank and just painted with colors around them. I’m not as happy with these results and I found it tedious rather than relaxing to paint them. If you make a mistake and your color goes into the line area, you need to do some scrubbing to get it out. With colored lines, you just put on another layer of underglaze.

And here is a group of the two styles together.

group of three tiles 1-15

Finally, here are some tiles done in the same manner but in a different clay (Standard 308, I think, or else 108 – I need to check. But both are fired at cone 5, and are reddish in the final color). I like these the best of all. I find the way the natural color of the clay can figure in the composition is more pleasing to me than in the white clay. And the clay also affects the final color the underglaze produces – I find these less stark than what the white clay comes up with. Experimenting is getting me somewhere – developing likes and dislikes!


6 thoughts on “Incised and Then – Color the Lines or Not?

  1. Stephanie Smith

    They each have a very different feel… I could offer arguments on why I like both. I think the painted line pieces feel more “Claudia” to me – especially the cat and the sunflower. But the unpainted bird feels very Claudia as well. Have you considered painting the lines but with a different color paint? Or adding paint to the clay the unpainted reveals a colored ground? xxxooo

  2. Claudia McGill Post author

    Yes, I have thought of using a different underglaze color in the lines – what I would use depends on the color of the clay. Adding color to the clay can be done but it’s easier to just use a different underglaze – there are a lot of colors and it can also be custom mixed (like paints) as glazes can’t. I still have a lot of room for experimenting, I think.

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