International Artist|June - July 2020

An inside look at the history, techniques and artists working in this traditional art form.
Joyce Pike

Porcelain has been collected among the wealthy since the end of the 18th century. Many artists from Europa’s porcelain factories arrived in the United States, established themselves and soon had their own studios with students. One cannot say it happened overnight, but slowly the interest in porcelain decoration took root. The period during the World War I, and for a while thereafter, became a slow period. Porcelain imported had been preferred even though the porcelain factories in the U.S. made their own pieces that were known as soft porcelain. Slowly but surely ceramic painters were already involved and soon porcelain painters found their way to the more decorative traditional style.

Techniques & Materials

It is a beautiful way to paint—very forgiving because it can be wiped off and leave the white surface of the porcelain, which is intriguing and exciting. Making mistakes can easily be corrected before the first fire. The method of “paint and wipe” is common and certainly an asset. A clean cloth takes off what you don’t like, and you can do the painting over until you are satisfied and ready for the first fire.

Porcelain paint comes in powder form. It needs to be mixed with oil—mineral oil—until it is the consistency of toothpaste. It should be mixed thoroughly. This process is called grinding. The paint is placed on a tile or glass; about 8 by 8 inches works well. Then with a flat palette knife it is carefully mixed being sure not to leave any dry paint. Everything should be well mixed.


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June - July 2020