Friday, August 8, 2014

Freeform Friday: the Majolica experiment

In my last post, I shared with you a little of the background and the history of this style of ceramics/decoration. Now I have put it all to practice. 

This summer, during the clay camp I teach, my teens did a Majolica project. I had made simple terra cotta plates for each student, and while their thrown pieces were bisque firing they glazed.
They did a fantastic job and really enjoyed the process. They best results seemed to occur when they built their design out, making choices as they went. It was organic, and they were able to assess and make creative decisions freely. Those that had a precise plan still had great results, but it seemed the freedom of "off the cuff" was more rewarding. ( The students were using Amaco Velvet underglazes over  a ^04 opaque white glaze.)

Thursday - 

This morning I sat down to do a few test pieces- I am using the Amaco Gloss Decorating Series glazes over the same low fire white glaze. Sadly this series is discontinued. My glazes had dried, and I have reconstituted them. Its been a long road to get here: sitting down to glaze with colors and coffee.
I like an orderly glaze table. 
Keep your coffee and brush water on opposite sides of the table. 
The discontinued GDC series. 
Building up background areas. 

The test pieces. Before
All in all - I need to learn from my students. For the most part I am not thrilled with this selection. I need to just play with color and pattern and not get too precious or whimsical with details and motifs. I'll fire these today, so I understand what works best with layering and thickness. Then I will glaze the rest...

Friday - the results     ( Please excuse the 1. brevity 2. coffee stains on the counter. you'll see. I'm still on my first sips.)

So I open the kiln today, just 5 minutes ago - looks great! I am sorely disappointed that this line of glazes is discontinued. They are lovely. Fully fused into the base glaze, they feel satiny and the colors are intense. The top pix, with coffee, shows both the level of gloss finish, and a bit of the texture. The glaze looks bumpier than it feels.
I am not thrilled with my designs. But seeing these is sparking ideas in my coffee deprived brain. I think I need to go peruse my "Eye Candy" page in Pinterest, and pull out my Mehndi/henna design books. Thats where I am headed... 

So tell me! What do you think? 

Off to drink coffee, and glaze! 



  1. While majolica is not my favorite personal style, it looks lovely in the student pics. I know the test pieces are not in your normal design look, but they are still very pretty. I do love seeing how intense the color comes out after firing. I think the bottom left pic reminds me of JenniferJangles pieces.

    1. Shirley - I agree. Jennifer Jangles has a colorful style! Mine is usually more mellow.

  2. Hi Jenny, I like these pieces. They are colorful and fun. My favorite is the yellow round with the dark blue flower center. I am not usually attracted to yellow but this piece grabbed me.

    1. Thanks Becky -
      I have them earmarked for the weekend to experiment more. My fav is the heart - turquoise, blue, speckles, and a spiral. That one screams my style.

  3. These look fantastic Jenny, looking forward to seeing how this develops... I love the sound of mehndi inspired designs!

  4. I am not normally drawn to bright colors but I do like this series. I think that my favorite is the one in the lower right picture in the upper right hand corner. The flower with the yellow border is fantastic.

  5. Thanks all - I have come to the executive decision - NOT to try and have these for Beadfest. I want to explore the ideas I have without rushing to meet the deadline. Patterns from Mehndi and Zentangles... layered colors... trying out the Velvets as well. So something to dive right back into after Beadfest, for sure.

  6. can't wait to see where these take you!


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