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Water Etching 1


Water etching is a way to get subtle texture on ceramics. Find out how to use shellac or another resist material to add texture to bone dry ceramic ware.

The dish shown below was made with A-Mix, 11M, Clay. It was fired to Cone 5 with Celadon 53, Weeping Plum.

Apply resist material

Start with unfired bone-dry ware. Paint or stamp a design using shellac, gel medium, or wax. The clay can be leather-hard, but this technique works best on bone dry ware, making it perfect for pieces which may have gotten too hard for carving or sgraffito.

Keep in mind that wherever the resist material is painted on will be the high area once this is finished. In this case I used shellac that we purchased from the local hardware store. Let the resist material dry thoroughly, preferably overnight.

Erode or etch the clay

Once completely dry, use a wet sponge to erode the bare clay. The more wiping with the wet sponge, the more the clay will change in level. If desired, a second coat of resist can be applied and more sponging done for a multi-dimensional surface.

Remove any residue from the resist with a damp sponge before glazing.