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Common Problems with Bisque-ware

   This month we are going to try to cover some of the most common problems that occur with ceramic bisque pieces.

     The most common problem we are asked about is bisque that will not take paint in spots. If you are painting with stains you could spray the item with a few coats of porcelain spray sealer, let dry thoroughly and then finish painting your piece. If you are painting with under-glazes you can sand the area lightly with a fine grade sandpaper, this will allow the under-glaze to adhere to the item.

     Another problem we find people come across when buying bisque from auctions is that some businesses may not have standards as high as what most of us would consider acceptable. When this happens you receive your item that you wanted to glaze except it is discolored in spots or it is yellowish brown in color.

      There are two possible causes for this, the first is that your item had been stored in a damp location and mold spores have begun to grow in spots on your piece.
Re-firing this piece will restore your item and will enable you to glaze the piece. The second cause of this would be that the item had been fired at too high of a temperature. Under this scenario re-firing the item will do absolutely no good, you really have no choice except to stain the item.


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Color Selection
Painting Ceramic Bisque
What colors should I use?
by Dolores Swaldi [c] 2004


One of the most basic parts of painting ceramic bisque is choosing a color scheme. Some people have a natural sense when it come to colors. They can blend their selections to produce coordinated, appealing works of art. Other people find it a little more difficult. If you are from the latter group of people, we will try to offer some advice.

     Sometimes all it takes to start painting an item is to start with what is obvious. If your piece is a figurine, start with the flesh color and go from there. The next spot to paint would be the hair. Try to stay with a natural color brown, red, blonde or black. Next, look at your piece and evaluate it to this point. Would the rest of the figurine look good painted in primary colors which are bright and crisp, or would the piece lend itself to a more pastel tone. Perhaps you would like a combination of both. This is the point where you just have to jump in with both feet. Make a decision for your first color and go on from there. Letís say you choose green. Green is an earthy shade so you can be sure if you chose another earth shade such as tan, brown, rust, gold or a mustard shade of yellow, everything is going to match and look fine. Letís imagine that instead of green you start with blue. You can match this with the primary colors of red and yellow and you will never go wrong. 


      There are times when all you need is to make a decision on your first color, and everything else just falls into place. Always keep in mind what is natural to the piece you are painting. If you are doing a wall plaque in a spring theme the colors would be light and fresh like spring. You would not see brown and rust colored leaves on trees in the spring, they would be a fresh tender shades of green. Likewise if you are painting a snowman, you would paint the snow white not brown or red.

     We do have one rule of thumb. If you are using a lot of colors on an item and you just canít decide what color to put in that last spot; use "French Vanilla". We use this any time no other color seems appropriate and it always blends perfectly. Try it you will see itís true

Dolly & Ernie Ceramics
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     One other item before we close. While you are painting it helps to occasionally stand back from your piece and look at it from a different viewpoint. Sometimes being too close to the item blurs your perspective. Be objective with your choices and donít be afraid to experiment with color. After all, experimenting with colors is the only true way to perfect your color selections.

     So there you are, the basics of color selection. We hope this article will provide some guidance when choosing colors for your pieces. Please check back for future articles on the ceramic craft or sign up for our free newsletter and never miss an article.

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Copyright [c] 2006 Dolly & Ernie
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About the Author:
Dolly Swaldi is the proprietor of this web site and has
been involved in the ceramic craft for over 28 years.

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