Ceramics Vocabulary

Home | CeramicsDrawing | Photography | Foundation Art

BAT - A slab or platform on which clay is handled; a circular device attached to the wheel-head.

BISQUE - Unglazed clay, fired at a low temperature.

BISQUE FIRING - The process of firing unglazed clay to a low temperature to harden the clay and drive the physical water from it. The approximate temperature of this firing is 1815 F.

CLAY BODY - A mixture of different types of clays and minerals for a specific ceramic purpose.

COIL CONSTRUCTION - Ropes of clay that are stacked to form a wall. This technique is one of the most commonly used hand-building methods.

GLAZE - A glassy coating that has been melted onto a ceramic surface.

GREENWARE - Unfired pottery that is bone-dry, a state in which clay forms are the most fragile.

KILN - Enclosed containers of various sizes- built of refractor brick and heated by electricity, gas, oil, or wood to temperatures from 1500 F. to 2340 F. in which pots are fired.

LEATHER HARD - Clay which is dried sufficiently to be stiff, but which is still damp enough to be joined to other pieces.

PLASTICITY - The property of a material enabling it to be shaped and to hold its form.

UNDERGLAZE - Colored decoration applied to bisqued clay, then coated with a clear glaze. Typically made of clay slip and raw pigment.

WEDGING - Method of kneading clay to make it homogenous; ridding the clay of all air pockets.

GLAZE FIRING - Typically the second firing of a piece pottery which has been coated with glass forming materials. The approximate temperature of this firing 2300.

SLUMP MOLD - A plaster form which is used to support wet clay in the early stages of construction.

PRESS MOLD - A plaster form which clay is compressed into, resulting in a repeatable shape or texture.

CENTERING - The act of aligning the clay on the potter's wheel in order to proceed with forming and shaping.


Student should also be familiar with the following:

Seven different (responsible for listing five) construction methods - coil, slab, pinch, solid, slump, slip casting and wheel throwing.

Tool identification - fettling knife, rib (metal and wood), large and small ribbon, needle, wire, wooden knife.

List the fundamental stages of proper preparation and use of the potters wheel. Be sure to include: wedging clay, using a bat, obtaining the proper tools, getting water, attaching the clay to the wheel-head, achieving a workable speed, body posture, hand position and technique, centering, using the proper amount of water, creating a pressure point and moving it up the side of the piece slowly, shaping, refining, removing the water from inside the piece, using a wooden knife at the base, using a wire tool to free the piece from the bat, labeling the piece properly, clean up.

Is Mr. Zimmer a nice guy or what?  :-)

Home | CeramicsDrawing | Photography | Foundation Art