I love to use amaco underglazes and watercolor underglazes because the results are more painterly and easier to control. Amaco underglazes are simply colored clay, so it is just clay, a little water and pigment. You can use underglazes on clay before it ever goes in the kiln or it can be applied on bisqueware, which is what I prefer.
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My favorite technique is to use watered down black, brown, red (whatever color that will make your carved areas pop!) and wipe off with a sponge. This gives an aged look that makes clay look more dynamic than one solid coat of a gloss glaze. I love using this technique in figurative work or with sculpted portraits. You can add as much or as little as you like and the stain like technique enhances all the surface textures you created.
Velvet underglazes are so fun to work with because you can choose which areas are glossy and which areas retain the velvet/matt. Add layers of the transparent gloss glaze to create high shine areas. Make sure your underglaze colors are 100% dry first so they don’t smear when you add the gloss coats. It comes out pink, which may confuse students, but will fire at Cone 05 for a glossy and translucent finish. Apply three even coats and let it dry completely between each coat.
I LOVE these watercolor underglazes because they are so easy to control. You know exactly what they will look like and they create just enough color to warm up a piece. Although they are a little expensive, a little goes a long way and you get a large variety of color with each set. I usually reserve these for my Sculpture II and AP 3D students.
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