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Pottery, Types, Procedures, and Techniques

Earthenware is porous pottery, usually fired at the lowest kiln temperatures (900°-1200° C/1652°-2192° F). Depending on the clay used, it turns a buff, red, brown, or black color when fired. To be made waterproof, it must be glazed. Nearly all ancient, medieval, Middle Eastern, and European painted ceramics are earthenware, as is a great deal of contemporary household dinnerware. Stoneware—water-resistant and much more durable—is fired at temperatures of 1200°-1280° C (2191°-2336° F). The clay turns white, buff, gray, or red and is glazed for aesthetic reasons. (Pottery fired at about 1200° C/2192° F is sometimes called middle-fire ware; its earthenware or stoneware traits vary from clay to clay.) Stoneware was made by the Chinese in antiquity and became known in northern Europe after the Renaissance (14th century to 17th century). Porcelain is made from kaolin, a clay formed from decomposed granite. Kaolin is a white primary clay—that is, a clay found in the earth in the place where it was formed and not transported there by rivers; secondary clays, borne by rivers to the site of deposit, contain impurities that give them various colors. Porcelain is fired at 1280°-1400° C (2336°-2552° F); it is white and often translucent. Porcelaneous ware was first made in China, hence its common name china. Chinese porcelain is less vitrified (and therefore softer) than its modern European counterpart, which was developed in Germany in the early 18th century. European imitations of Chinese porcelain are also made; called soft-paste or frit porcelains, they are fired at about 1100° C (about 2012° F). In the mid-18th century, English potters invented bone china, a somewhat harder ware that gained whiteness, translucency, and stability through the inclusion of calcium phosphate in the form of calcined (fired, chemically altered) ox bones.
A.         Preparing and Shaping the Clay Continue reading

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