Hand Painted Pottery with Animal and Dog Art by Nan Hamilton Boston MA

How the Horse Vase was Made

First, I threw tall, straight-sided with a top indent shape of porcelain on a potter's wheel. The next day when the pot was partially dry, I trimmed the pot to make the foot on the bottom. The pot was bisque fired to cone 08.

I glazed the inside with shiny dark blue glaze. Next, I did a drawing on tracing paper cut to the circumference of the pot to work out the placement of the horses. You can draw directly on the pot but sometimes it's easier to figure it out on paper. I transferred the drawing onto the pot using pencil carbon paper I make by covering a small piece of tracing paper with pencil graphite. I painted the horses using underglaze paints. I thought it would be an interesting contrast to have all the horses unglazed except the white one which would be covered with a shiny clear glaze to make it pop out. I painted wax resist over all the horses except the white one. Here are the painted waxed horses.

To get the clear glaze on the white horse, I painted latex resist around the edge of the horse so I would know where the borders were. The I held the pot sideways, and just touched the pot to the glaze surface. Then, I peeled away the latex and cleaned off the remaining transparent.

Next I put latex resist over the white horse and dipped the pot in brownstone, one of our studio glazes. You can see glaze beaded up on the wax over the horses. I used a little sponge and Q-tips to clean the glaze off the horses. I cut away the top edge of glaze to make the shapes of the mesas and cleaned away the extra brownstone there, too. Also, a circle of transparent was glazed where the moon would be, then that area was covered with latex. Finally I peeled the latex off the transparent glaze over the white horse.

My next job was to paint in the details in the background. When that was done, I waxed the upper area of the brownstone and also the rim to about 1" inside so those areas would be protected when I dipped the top in shiny dark blue. In this photo you can see the pot cleaned up and ready for the kiln. Despite looking white, the upper area will fire blue. Below you can see the finished pot. Was all this worth the trouble? Maybe glazing all the horses in a white matte glaze and painting over would have been better. And maybe using charcoal for the background glaze might have made the pot look more like night.

Wax Resist versus Latex Resist: Latex resist is peeled off the pot before it goes into the kiln. Wax resist stays on the pot and is burned off during the firing. Latex will remove some of the underglaze when it is pulled off so using it over underglazes is usually a bad idea. Also, latex leaves something behind on the pot surface that slightly makes is difficult to get a good application of underglaze. Latex is best used directly on the pot surface or over a glaze. Wax is best used to protect glaze and underglazes.

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No unauthorized reproduction. Thank you. Text and Photos Copyright © 2007 Nan Hamilton