Ceramics: Greek word for keramos,
meaning “potter’s clay.”
Dates back to c. 25,000 BC.
Kiln: Oven in which to fire clay.
Kneading/wedging: Process of preparing clay before use to
mix clay and expel air pockets.
*If you are NOT using new clay, then clay MUST be kneaded
and wedged before use.
*If you do not do so, the clay may explode or chip off in large
chucks during the firing stage due to air pockets.
Slip: Liquid clay; clay with water.
Score: To lightly cut lines into surface of clay.
Slipping and scoring: Method of applying or “gluing” clay
to the surface of a piece of work.
*You MUST slip and score every piece of clay that will be
attached to another piece of clay.
*If you do not, those clay pieces will fall off or explode during
the firing stage due to air in between pieces.
Building Stages (3)
1. Plastic: Stage of clay where it is flexible and capable of
being molded and shaped. New clay.
2. Leather-hard: Stage of clay where it is fairly stiff and
capable of being incised, pierced, etc.
3. Bone-dry: Stage of clay where it is ready to be fired;
appears white like bone. Very fragile at this stage. Cannot
be decorated, etc.
Firing Stages (2)
Firing: Process of applying controlled and sustained heat to
clay or glazed clay in a kiln (1st stage, 2nd stage).
Greenware: Clay that is ready to be fired. When clay is
bone-dry, it is ready to be fired. It is then called greenware by
Bisque: Clay that has been fired only once and is not
glazed. At this point, it is now considered to be “ceramic.” It
is called bisque-ware by ceramicists.
Glazing: Process by which glaze is applied to
bisque-fired clay before firing.
*Glaze must be applied evenly and neatly with a clean brush.
*3 coats are recommended.
*Do NOT glaze any area that is considered to be the “bottom”
of a ceramic object. The glaze will melt, stick to the inside of
the kiln, and ultimately ruin both the kiln and the ceramic
Types of Building (6)
1.Pinching: Simplest and most direct of hand-forming clay
where it is “pinched” with the fingers and thumb.
2.Slab building/slabbing: Method of forming pottery objects
using flat sheets or “slabs” that are slipped and scored
*Slab building will be used for the luminary project.
Press molding/molding: Method of forming pottery
objects by pressing sheets of clay over a surface of a mold.
Types of Building (cont’d)
4.Coil building/coiling: Method of building clay forms from
ropes of clay or “coils” that are placed directly on top of one
5.Throwing: Process of hand-forming a mass of soft plastic
clay on a rotating wheel.
Reducing (reduction): Process of molding clay by
removing or “reducing” excess clay in order to form.
Types of Decorating (5)
1.Applied decoration/applying: Process of adding or
“applying” clay to the surface of a piece of work up until it
2.Impressing: Process of making marks by impressing objects
into a clay surface while clay is somewhat soft but not too
Incising: Process of decorating clay by cutting into or
“incising” the surface of the clay.
Types of Decorating (cont’d)
4.Rolled decoration/rolling: Process of decorating the surface
of plastic clay by using simple textured rollers.
5.Pierced decoration/piercing: Process of cutting through or
“piercing” holes in the clay once it is leather-hard.
*Piercing will be used for the luminary project.
*One other form of decoration will also be required.
Art of carving wood, chiseling stone, casting
or welding metal, molding clay or wax, etc., into 3-D
Of or having to do with usefulness over
“beauty.” Applied art is art that is meant to be functional as
well as visually pleasing.
• Create an 6x6" ceramic tile dedicated to an artist or
• Tile design will use symbols, marks and colors that
represent your artist or culture
• Tile design includes incised, impressed, applied
and reductive techniques
• Ceramic tile uses a gloss and matte glaze finish and
at least two (2) colors or tones