Bisqueware ceramics definition

Unfinished clay fish - after firing be a brown ceramic fish
What is bisqueware ceramics? Bisqueware is unfinished pottery that needs to be fired again before its in its final state. Bisqueware that has been fired in a kiln to a low temperature usually cone 04 or lower and is porous. At his stage it acts like a sponge. When dipped into a glaze it will absorb water and be coated with glaze. The longer you let the bisqued piece soak in the glaze, the more water it will absorb until the piece is finally saturated. Click here for more information on examples of ceramic materials.

What is the chemistry behind bisque?

Bisque is the first time that the clay is fired which is unlike unfired clay which has never been fired. Sometimes, the clay matures at a temperature higher than the glaze. If this is the case, the firing of bisque may be higher at temperature with the firing of a lower temperature glaze. As always the clay objects should be bone-dry before firing and should not be cold to the touch, indicating that they are not yet dry enough to fire. Occasionally, the bisque fire is called biscuit firing.

Can bisqueware be glazed or painted?

The bisque firing is in the low temperature range removes water and carbon from the clay and thus fuses the clay pieces together. At this stage, you can no longer add water to the clay and reform the piece. The shape of the clay now has a set shape. The end result is the clay piece is hard, but it is also porous and able to absorb a small amount of water from a glaze solution. What this does is allows the glaze to adhere to the clay. Once this has been done the clay piece is ready for firing. This will melt and fuse the glaze together with the clay. The intermediate stage of bisque is when it's intended to be glazed.

What is Porcelain Bisque?

White unglazed porcelain is known as porcelain bisque or bisque. It is common in European pottery because soft marble has a comparable appearance. It has a matte texture and surface.

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The bisque is now in it's final state

Looks a lot different now.Comparing the top image to this one the bisque is now in it's final state and look much better. The brown and red colors really pop and add visual interest to the ceramic wall decor. Firing in the kiln and adding a little glaze makes a big difference.
The bisque fish was fired in the kiln - Final product

Greenware ceramics definition

Understanding and making greenware pottery 

definition of greenware
Plate that was once greenware

Learn about greenware, the stage in the production of ceramics when the clay is shaped. Greenware is the term given to clay objects when it's shaped but not yet fired in a kiln. Once fired in a kiln then converts the greenware from clay to ceramic. Greenware is unfired pottery and it's very fragile.

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Greenware pottery stages

Greenware plate

I am well aware of how fragile greenware is due to I have broken many pieces in creating ceramic artwork. Greenware can be in different stages. For example it can be wet, damp, soft leather-hard, leather-hard, stiff leather-hard, dry, and even bone dry. These are examples of different drying stages of greenware.

At this stage, the object can still be worked by adding more water or clay so that it softens and then can be easily reshaped. However one important note is that greenware should not be fired in the kiln. It should dry out first and be in a bone dry state otherwise it could crack or break. For greenware, the drying process is critical. Until it is bone dry, it can't be fired in the kiln, or it can deform or break in the kiln. Your greenware needs to be carefully dried to make sure all parts of the piece are dry and evenly dry. It is important not to force-dry pottery in an attempt to speed up the drying process by blowing hot air on it. It's in this stage where I do most of the handcrafted ceramic work.

How to dry greenware

Usually how I dry my greenware is on racks and shelves allowing air to circulate between objects. Pieces need to be separated from each other otherwise they might end up melding together.

The drying process goes through several stages like I already mentioned from when it is still visibly damp to when it has dried enough to handle without deformation. And then finally to a final bone dry stage. When it's in this stage the bone dry stage the art piece will feel warmer to the touch and you will visibility see it is much drier due to the color change. It will mist likely change to slightly lighter color of clay.

Greenware decoration

decorated greenware
Greenware has been decorated and is ready for the kiln

I decorate greenware while it is drying. In addition while it's in the greenware stage I also sometimes add a glaze and then it will be fired. This is where I add color and texture to my artwork.

Dog Themed Wall Decor

Dog wall art
Dog themed wall art
Shop for original handmade wall art. Buy dog themed wall art directly from the artist. Why buy a replica when you can have the original decor? Hello, my name is Ed and I make a variety of pet-themed art. I am a dog lover and I love to make all sorts of dog art out of ceramic.

The two ceramic dogs pictured here are currently available for sale. Visit my online store ceramic dog themed decor to purchase. To learn more about this item click here for my dog wall art  specifications PDF.

2 ceramic dogs artwork
Click here for more info and to buy
One wall hanging ceramic dog
Dog 1
Ceramic dog wall art
Dog 2

Purchase popular dog wall decor

Click on a dog for more information and to buy
Ceramic dog themed wall decoration Dog art in a blue theme for indoor decoration Custom handmade dog wall art
Colorful dog hanging wall art Room decor for small dog lovers Fancy original dog lovers wall artwork

Making ceramic dogs into wall decor

When making ceramic art I start with a clay block and cut several large pieces of clay from the block. They were about 10 inches by 10 inches in size. I formed up the unfired clay (or some folks refer to as greenware) to the exact shape for each dog. The two dogs were hand made using the clay pieces and then the clay was fired in a kiln. This was the first firing. the kiln was fired to about 2000 degrees.

I decided to go with a Tan, Gray and Black color scheme for the dogs. Each section was painted. The dogs were now in the bisque sate. Most of the dogs face was painted in the Tan and Gray color with Black used as an accent color to make the wall art more interesting.

I also used Red as an accent color by painting the dog’s tongue Red. The last step in the painting process was to paint the outline for each shape on the dogs face separating each color with a black line. This gives definition and makes the clay art work standout and look more interesting and defined.

How my two dogs looked before firing in the klin

Clay dog heads before firing in the klin
Dog artwork before firing in the klin

I am currently working on two new dog themed wall art ceramics. I sculpted both dogs from clay. These two pups are ready for a second firing in the kiln.

Dog wall art decor about to be fired

Dog head hanging wall art made from clay
Dog head sculpted from clay
Taking a closer look at the big dog, it turned out nicely. The image above is a closer look before this piece goes into the kiln. This one will be fired with others later when I have more. My goal is to to fill up the kiln as much as possible before firing.

How to hang clay dog themed art on the wall

On the back of each dog I molded way to hang the art work on the wall. Each dog can be put into a plate holder or mounted on the wall using the hanger mount I molded into the back of each clay dog face. Either way makes for a great dog themed art decor and it’s easy to hang on the wall.

Dog wall decor ready to hang on the wall

Dog themed wall decor video part 1 - Introduction

Dog themed wall decor video part 2 - Ended up creating 2 dogs and making it as a set.

Dog themed wall decor video part 3 - Choose Tan and Black with Red and White as accent colors.

Dog themed wall decor video part 4 - Wall decor has a 3D look, the artwork is not flat and will have a place on the back side for hanging on the wall with a regular picture hook.

Dog themed wall decor video part 4 - Color combination looks excellent and should go with most any interior color decor.

It's been about 2 weeks now and there was finally enough art to fill up the kiln and do a firing. The two dogs came out of the kiln. They survived. Nothing broke which is great because there are no guarantees that it will come out in one piece. The colors turn out amazing I am sure you will agree. As you can see the color difference before firing and after firing. The colors looking nothing alike. After firing the colors look entirely different. They are now ready to hang on the wall.

The two ceramic dogs below are a set and therefore will be sold as a pair. Each artwork is just a little smaller than a regular sheet of paper, approximately 8 inches tall and 7 inches wide.

Ceramic wall decor dog number 1

Ceramic dog themed wall decoration

How To Hang Ceramic Art On Wall

How to hang ceramic art on the wall
How to hang art
How to hang ceramic art on your wall like a professional designer. Hanging clay wall artwork can be overwhelming due to weight or because it’s oddly shaped. In this post I’ll discuss my techniques.

Artist working on a wall hanging plate
Artist Ed is working on a ceramic plate to be hung on the wall
Let's go over some of my ideas regarding hanging ceramic wall art like a professional designer. I am a ceramic artist with decades of experience creating clay wall art. In this article, I will tell you my secrets on how I hang any most any type of clay wall decor perfectly every time. Once you know my secret you will be amazed on how easy it is and how perfectly your wall decor will look. Your friends will be amazed at the ceramic wall art gallery hanging on your wall.

My Tips How to Hang Clay Wall Art 

Back of ceramic artwork has built-in hanger
I add a built-in hanger to my wall art
It’s not surprising that hanging handmade clay art can be overwhelming and extremely difficult. After all clay is heavy and it’s fragile so figuring it out can be overwhelming. In addition, many of the art pieces are oddly shaped and present an even bigger challenge getting it to the wall. I have tried many techniques and some are better than others and some just fail. Some methods work much better than others. I will not discuss the ones that failed. I will only discuss the ones that I have used and have had success with using. There are too many failures to discuss in one article.

Obviously you cannot hang a gigantic clay piece weighing hundreds of pounds on the wall without considerable amount of planning, design and special construction.

The art pieces I will discuss hanging on the wall in this article are ones you can hold in your hand. These are not too heavy that would cause problems for the sheetrock walls.

How to hang ceramic art - Ed's big black clay cat
Ed's favorite ceramic cat
Most common Sheetrock wall thickness for homes are between half inch and 5/8 inch wallboard. The most common industry standard for home construction is half inch thickness.

The ideal ceramic art you wish to hang should not be more than forty pounds. If you are attempting to hang more than forty pounds then most likely you will need to do special planning, design and construction to get your wall art mounted. This article is not for you.

This article is written for the majority of folks who are homeowners who purchased ceramic art that is less than forty pounds and can be held in one hand without straining. I am not talking about homeowners who have Hercules arms.

By the way, all my art work comes prewired and ready to hang as mentioned above. Hercules is not needed to help get it on your wall.

Handmade Clay Wall Hanging Rules

School of fish ceramic art hanging on the wall
Handmade ceramic fish art wall decor
Before you go off and spend a fortune on materials lets investigate what is realistic to hang on a residential sheetrock wall. So, as I already said but it's worth repeating again the typical thickness of residential sheetrock wall is half inch thick sheetrock. It's important to know how much weight half inch sheetrock will support.

A twelve inch by twelve inch square of drywall typically can hold forty pounds of weight.

Now if you can find a stud behind the drywall then you could hang more weight. As always, finding a stud and getting into the support structure of the wall is the best. However, this is not always the case especially when hanging more than one clay art piece in a gallery configuration.

When hanging art on a wall it subject to the pull of gravity pulling the piece down and the weight of the piece. There are also forces pulling the piece outward from the wall.

To be safe, a general rule of thumb whatever wall anchors you use, use one fourth of their stated weight.

This way you can always be sure you are not overloading your wall anchor. So for example, if my wall anchor is rated for forty pounds I would hang at a maximum a ten pound clay art decor. The larger the wall anchor generally the more secure and more weight it can hold.

Ceramic Art Wall Hanging Anchors Types

My recommendation and what I use ninety nine percent of the time is a simple picture hanger.

However, I make sure not to use just any picture hanger. I always buy a new hanger and one that is weight rated. It has on the package how much weigh it can hold. And then as mentioned before I only use one fourth of the rated weight on the package.

The best picture hangers I have found are the OOK Picture Hangers. They are used in galleries, museums and homes worldwide.

If they are used in museums then they are good enough for me. I have been using OOK to hang my clay art for decades with no failures. You can find them at most hardware stores or online.

If you purchase my ceramic art it comes prewired and with an OOK picture hanger rated for the weight. You will be able to hang your artwork like a true professional.

Why OOK? Here is why. Sure I can find picture hangers for cheap but there is a reason. Most picture hangers are made of very low quality steel. The steel is low grade and will bend over time. I have clay art that has been hanging for years on OOK hangers with no bends. OOK wall hangers are at least twenty percent stronger than regular hangers. They are designed and bent in such a way as to be stronger and last longer. Even their nails use better quality steel to resist sagging over time.

Number one tip NOT to do. You must avoid the temptation if you have a heavy clay artwork to hang to use multiple anchors to secure to the wall. Do not do this. If you have two picture hangers rated at twenty pounds by using them two of them you still only have twenty pounds not forty.

Another great hanger to use without needing any tools is the OOK Hercules thin wire hook. Just push into the wall and hang your artwork. It’s very convenient and eliminates the need for a hammer or nails.

This system works well.

Clay Art Wall Hanging How Tos

What do you do if you purchased art with no hangers built in? In this case you are going to have to build a way to hang your newly purchased art. However, as mentioned before if you purchased my art you will have no worries. All my ceramic art comes pre-wired with a hanger. It’s ready to mount. This comes in real handy for example if you are planning to hang a gallery. A good place to hang a gallery is in the bathroom.

A gallery of different sized fish hanging on the wall works well.

Building a mounting system is not that hard if you know what materials to buy. Many folks choose to mount their artwork to lumber. Wood is a great way to mount art because it comes in many different sizes and of course you can cut it to fit your exact length. You can also paint it to match any color.

How to hang clay art arrached to wood
Ceramic art is mounted to wood for hanging
Another big advantage of using wood is its very durable and can be purchased in a variety of surface textures. The mounting board can be nailed or glued together or can be fitted into odd angles if necessary. The back of the wood can even be cut to accept artwork which need to be recessed into the wood. The wood mounting board can easily have mounts nailed or screwed into the back ready for wire and hanging on the wall.

What never to do when hanging art

I always use wire and never use string or fishing line. And here is why. I guarantee over time string and fishing line will breakdown and break. It may take a year or so but it will. Even twenty pound fishing line will break.

Fishing line is not resistant to sun and light. Over time the line will become brittle and could break. To test, take some and lay it out in the sun.

After a month or some period of time you will see that it has become brittle and could break. Ask any professional bass fisherman how often do they change their line and why. Is this what you want holding your ceramic art to the wall?

The best wire to use is at least six strand galvanized hobby wire. You can get it in anywhere from twenty gauge to nine gauge. If you want to know what the best just ask a museum. They will tell you they use at least fifty pound framer wire. This is usually a stainless steel wire wrapped in a plastic coating. The coating protects your hands and also helps reinforce the wire.

The concept is the same as with the hooks. If you buy cheap steel you get cheap steel. If in doubt buy OOK. Sorry if this sounds like an OOK commercial but their products are what I use and have had no problems.

My secret of mounting clay to wood

Liquid Nails

Most everyone’s first thought is to run down to the local hardware store and purchase Liquid Nails for projects. And you will be right for a while until it fails. It might be a while but it will fail.

I have found it just does not bond well to ceramic over time. I have no idea why but it fails, at least for me. It’s a great product and I use it all the time for projects just not my clay artwork. It’s great for molding and paneling. It has low order and is non-staining. But for some reason it does not hold well over a longer period of time to ceramic.

Large ceramic wall art mounted on wood and hung on the wall
Large ceramic wall art mounted on wood and hung on the wall
What I use is Loctite PL Premium 3X. This stuff is gold when it comes to superior adhesion.
It has held up much better in my art projects when I needed to glue ceramics to wood or ceramics to ceramics. It can be used for interior or exterior projects and they claim it is 3 times as strong. Which I have no doubt that it is. The cool thing about PL Premium is that it is waterproof and paintable. It even cures in cold or cooler temperatures. It’s not suitable for some applications so be sure to read the instructions before using. When using I always let it cure for several days before attempting to let it hold any weight. I wear gloves and do not let it touch my skin. If I have to clean up I use mineral spirits in a well ventilated area usually outdoors.
Loctite PL Premium 3X for mounting ceramic to wood
But honestly the best solution is not to use anything thing at all. Look for hanging artwork decor with built-in loop holes.

The best option is ceramic decor in which the artist has pre-formed loops and or other hooks in the back of their artwork. This way the loops are fired into the piece and are very strong. This is the technique that I use in most if not all of my artwork. All that is needed is to use wire to form a loop to hang the clay art on the wall.

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Hanging Ceramic Art Conclusions

I hope this article was of value to you. I know there are hundreds of special and unique situations in which art can be hung on the wall. I tried to cover the most important and most common aspects of hanging clay art.

Don't miss out on my informative video pages on how to hang art:
  1. How to hang wall art - shows many wall art hanging options!
  2. How to hang multiple pictures on wall - one of my favorites!
  3. How to hang art gallery style
  4. How to arrange wall art
  5. Hang art from ceiling

In short, don’t skimp on cheap hangers and wire. Always look for art where the artist has built-in loops in the back of their artwork. This makes mounting so much easier.

But if you are stuck and are forced to use glue be sure to check out Loctite PL Premium 3X. There may be other brands that work just as well but this is the brand that I have had great success with. Happy hanging!

Unfired clay

unfired clay
Unfired clay plate

What is unfired clay?

Unfired clay is called Greenware. Clay contains moisture. It actually contains water in a sufficient amount so that the clay is soft and malleable. It's at this stage that the clay can easily be formed into different shapes. The clay bodies are in a plastic like form due to the moisture content.

The clay plate above was formed into it's final shape and is now almost ready for the first firing in the kiln. The clay used above in the picture contained enough moisture so that it could be formed by hand. In addition, decorative patterns were embossed into the clay. Once fired the clay will no longer have sufficient moisture to be shaped.

The clay will sit and naturally dry out till it has about 15% moisture content. This state is called Leather-hard.

When the clay plate reaches a moisture content at or near 0% it is ready to be fired.

The clay plate above will be painted and then fired in a kiln up to about 2,000 degrees. If it survives and does not break or crack it will then take if final form as all or nearly all moisture will have been removed.

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What is a kiln used for

Taking art from a kiln
Taking finished ceramic artwork from a kiln
What is a kiln used for? An electric kiln is a heating chamber used to process materials at high temperatures. A kiln uses a process invented thousands of years ago to harden ceramic bodies. Clay becomes hard enough to form tiles and vessels when heated properly. Glazes fired on the clay turn into permanent decoration. Some of the world's finest artwork is made of clay. Ancient China's porcelain is priceless. As history has proved, ordinary clay becomes strong enough through the magic of heat to last many centuries.

Used this old kiln for many years
My primary use of a kiln is to harden clay into hard ceramic bodies. I have been using exclusively Paragon kilns for years with excellent results.

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Ceramic plate wall decor

Decorating a wall with handmade ceramic plates to fill a large empty space
Handmade ceramic plates
Decorating on a wall with ceramic plates is a cost-effective and creative way to create a beautiful focus in a room. Instead of using art or images, plates can offer an unexpected and affordable way of filling a wide range of walls. In order to create a cohesive look, consider selecting a tight color scheme with a lot of white. In this post we explore beautiful pictures of plate wall inspiration, tips on how to set up your plates and how to hang your plates on the wall.

The use of white plates for most of your wall is cost effective and looks great. White dishes in different sizes and shapes can easily be found in second hand stores and flea markets. With the right color palette, you can create a lovely and timeless centerpiece on you wall.

Tips on how to design your plate wall

If you plan to hang multiple plates on the wall your should trace your plate design directly on the wall on construction or packing/butcher paper. Use your paper template as a guide to place your plates on the wall and tear the paper off the wall gently. This way you get the spacing between each plate just right.

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Handmade Ceramics

Ceramics made by hand
In the process of creating a handcrafted nature scene

Hello, my name is Ed and I am a ceramic artist and I am always on the look out for interesting handcrafted art ideas. In this post I am creating a set of four wonderful handcrafted wall decor pieces. The idea is to create several pieces of art that when grouped together form one larger piece. All four pieces of art will be similar in shape and color so that when grouped together will look amazing.

Hand Crafted Ceramic Nature Artwork

Each art piece is hand painted
Adding color to the top of the artwork
I decided on a shape for the nature artwork. It's a rectangle but the edges of the rectangle will be rough and not perfectly finished. This will give each piece it's own unique handmade characteristic. The pattern will be a natural pattern of tree branches and berries. The branches will flow through each piece as well as the berries. Working with the clay really connects me with the elements. And it reminds me of visual experiences that gets translated into art. That energy that comes out through my hands and little-by-little goes into each artwork.

Ceramic art being painted before firing
Hand painting the background colors
The next step is to decide on the color. The colors will flow through each piece so they will all look consistent. And when grouped together will look as one unit. I picked a lighter color for the top portion of the artwork and then faded the lighter colors into a earthy hue toward the bottom.

Painting the background and foreground of each art piece
Painting by hand the tree branches
Now it's time to paint in the tree branches. The branches need to stand out against the background so a darker color is used. The last step is to paint the berries. And then finally to fire all the pieces in the kiln and hope they all turn out. Clay is difficult to work with because it has a memory of its own. All its molecules and structures are lined up a certain way. So when I create the shape I want, there is no guarantee that is the way it will come out of the kiln. You never know what is going to happen in the kiln. There are two firings and the first firing everything may be perfect. And 2nd firing everything may blowup or crack.

There is a lot of value in something that's handmade. It's tells a story in the simplest of forms.

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How Are Ceramics Made

The Making of Ceramic Art

Clay or ceramic art is staged and ready for the klin
Unfired clay ready for the klin
Ceramics are made at high temperatures so chemical and physical reactions will occur to permanently alter the unfired clay. In the case of my art, the clay materials are shaped, dried and then fired in a kiln. The final characteristics are determined by the composition and preparation of the clay body and by the temperature at which the ware is fired. Clay consists of fine-grained particles, that are relatively weak and porous. Clay is combined with other minerals to create a workable clay body. While the clay is un-fired and drying its in a very vulnerable state and can break easily. Part of the firing process includes sintering. This heats the clay until the particles partially melt and flow together. This creates a strong, single ware, composed of a glassy finish. Click here for more information regarding example ceramic materials.

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