Ceramics Today
Home | Articles | Featured Artists | Contact | Search

Watercolors on Porcelain

atercolors on Porcelain is a technique developed by the Norwegian ceramic artist Arne Åse in the late 1980s and a technique that I have been experimenting and using myself since 1994. This particular technique can really be dubbed 'unique', as it has very little to do with traditional glazes to achieve color effects. It also has little to do with traditional artists watercolors - these are actually very finely ground pigments, dispersed in water, whereas the Watercolors on Porcelain use watersoluble metal salts, such as Cobalt Sulphate, Iron Sulphate, Copper Sulphate, Potassium Dichromate, Uranyl Nitrate or other metal sulphates, chlorides or nitrates to achieve the colour effects. While these metal salts achieve colors of the same category as their oxide counterparts (eg. cobalt = blue), the effects are quite different.

As can be seen above, sometimes the metal salts will crystallize on drying, giving a varied surface. Another interesting effect can be seen in the use of Uranyl Nitrate and phosphoric acid. The acid, once applied on top of a layer of Uranyl Nitrate, depresses the color into the clay body, revealing the white porcelain underneath. This technique also generates a 'halo' effect, with the color concentrating on the edges of the acid. The Watercolors on Porcelain technique can also be useful for writing calligraphy on tiles, vessels or sculpture.

This is a great technique, but also one to be taken very seriously, as the metal salts can be extremely hazardous to your health and precautions need to be taken. If you want to find out more about this technique, I suggest you get hold of a copy of Arne Åse's book Watercolors on Porcelain, which has been published in the US - you may also find it in a good library.

More on Watercolors on Porcelain
More Articles

© Ceramics Today