Here are some terms you will see used quite a bit in this guide:
marketing - Terms categorized as “marketing” are events and ideas that will help you market your business.
product - Terms categorized as “product” are items we sell. Many of them are decorating tools that can be used to quickly and easily create professional looking art on bisque.
technique - Terms categorized as “technique” are pottery painting techniques. Many of these techniques are featured in other resources on our website, such as videos and camp guides.
technical - Terms categorized as “technical” are painting, firing, and troubleshooting words that are important to know when running any business that uses a kiln. If you aren’t already familiar with these words, we suggest reading through them - they might come in handy later!
(marketing) - Hosting after-school programs in your PYOP studio can be a wonderful opportunity to attract new business to your studio, as well as a great means of generating revenue throughout the year. We believe the best after-school programs involve projects that are economical, creative, and offer children several different mediums to work with. Bisque Imports offers a large selection of products - from bisque to mosaics, glass, and crafts - that are perfect for keeping young artists engaged and entertained, as well as resources to help you plan and implement successful after-school programs. Check out our resources section online to view project guides and marketing tips, e-books, video tutorials, and more to get inspired!
(technique) - Alcohol painting is a technique used with underglazes or glazes in conjunction with rubbing alcohol to achieve an abstract, rippled, or dotted effect on bisque.
Art / Designer Tape
(product) - Bisque Imports offers Art Tape and Designer Tape in a variety of sizes and patterns that can be used to mask intricate designs onto bisque or other canvas surfaces. Simply place on bisque, paint over, and remove once dry. Art and Designer Tape are specially created with low tack design to reduce the risk of bothersome residue.
(product) - A banding wheel is spinning wheel on a pedestal base. It is turned manually, and can be used when decorating bisque.
(product / technical) - Bisque refers to ceramic ware which has been fired once and has no chemically bonded water left in the clay. These ready-to-paint pieces can be painted and fired using ceramic underglazes or glazes to achieve a food-safe surface. Bisque intended only to be ornamental (not food safe) may be painted with acrylic paint or other mixed media without firing.
Blue Label Bisque
(technical) - Blue Label Bisque is Bisque Imports’ exclusive line of bisque, created with a strong, dense clay body and a clean, white surface. Blue Label Bisque is formulated with an improved clay body to better mate with non-toxic glazes, and is intended for optimal results during firing.
(product) - Brush-on glaze is clear glaze that is specially formulated to be applied to bisque using a brush.
(technique) - Bubble painting is a technique used on bisque or other canvas surfaces to create a bubbled look. To bubble paint, mix equal parts liquid dish soap, paint, and water in a small cup. Stir until you see bubbles forming. With a straw, blow into the mixture, making sure the cup remains in an upright position. Allow bubbles to overflow onto the bisque surface. When the entire surface is covered, allow bubbles to pop on their own. Repeat as desired, then allow project to dry completely.
(marketing) - The Contemporary Ceramic Studios Association (CCSA) is a not-for-profit trade association serving the needs of ceramic and paint your own pottery studios and suppliers around the world. The mission of the CCSA is to promote creativity and excitement about the ceramic industry and to be a resource for its members.
(event) - CeramaJam is the quintessential Bisque Imports experience! Each year, we work to bring you more inspiration, useful discussions, and more fun than ever before. From discussing trends, to exploring exciting new techniques with bisque, glass, crafts and more - this 2-day event is designed to help your business grow.
(product) - Clear glaze is used as a decorative element to ceramic bisque, and also it performs the important function of making the clay pottery vitreous (or non-porous). Once applied to pottery (through dipping or brushing), the dry glaze mixture will form on the surface of the bisque pottery. Post firing, the dried granular mixture becomes one solid glass type surface that provides a sealant to bisque and allows the pottery to be functional and food-safe.
(technical) - Cone 06 is a measurement of heat used when firing bisque. When fired to cone 06, a kiln will reach a maximum temperature of 1855 degrees Fahrenheit.
(technical) - Crawling is typically the result of excessive shrinking of the glaze during the drying process. This causes the glaze to crack, and can form clumps on the bisque while firing that results in visible areas of bare bisque. Too much clay in glaze, too much water, and heavy application of glazes are causes of crawling.
(technical) - Crazing occurs when the glaze shrinks more than the clay body while cooling, which results in hairline cracks appearing on the glaze surface. Under fired bisque, imcompatibility between bisque and glaze, and opening the kiln too soon are causes of crazing. Over time, repeated use in microwaves and dishwashers or exposure to moisture can cause delayed crazing as well.
(product) - Bisque Imports offers Decorative Stickies in a variety of shapes that can be used to mask intricate designs onto bisque or other canvas surfaces. Simply place on bisque, paint over, and remove once dry. Decorative Stickies are specially created with low tack design to reduce the risk of bothersome residue.
(product) - Dipping glaze is a form of clear glaze that is applied by dipping bisque into the clear glaze prior to firing. Dipping glaze can be applied through the use of tongs, wherein which bisque is fully immersed into the glaze, or through the use of half-dipping. Once applied and fired, dipping glaze acts as a non-porous sealant for the bisque surface.
(product) - Dipping tongs are used in the process of clear glazing bisque, wherein which a piece is fully emerged in the clear glaze, and allow for more efficient glazing.
(product) - A dremel is a small, electric power tool used with drill bits to drill holes through bisque.
(product) - Drill bits are pointed tips used with dremels to drill holes through bisque.
Dry Stilting / Dry-Footing
(technical) - Dry-footing, also referred to as dry stilting, is an alternative to stilting bisque when firing. When dry footing bisque, glaze is removed from the portion of the piece that will rest on the shelf using a wet sponge.
(technical) - Kiln elements are coils of Kanthem, a metal alloy, and act as the heating elements within most electric kilns.
Foam Glazing Mat
(product) - Foam glazing mats are used to easily dry foot (or, dry stilt) glazed bisque shapes before firing. Dampen foam mat, then gently rub glazed piece across the surface of the mat to remove glaze from the foot/bottom of the piece.
(event) - Glass-O-Rama is a fantastic, Bisque Imports exclusive one-day glass workshop packed with exclusive projects and money-making discussions that you’ll be able to immediately take back to your studio and use. Our unique program offers options for both novice and experienced users. Our experienced team has years of studio glass experience, so you’ll leave inspired and ready to grow your glass fusing program.
(technical) - A wet or dry clay based object before the first (bisque) firing.
(technical) - Hairline cracks are tight, narrow cracks. When in the bisque body, once fired, the heat causes these nearly invisible cracks to expand, resulting in breakage.
Half-Dipping vs. Dipping Tongs
(technical) - Half-dipping refers to a method of clear glazing bisque. To half-dip, simply dip one half of the bisque into the clear glaze, then stabilize the piece on a stilt to dry. Once dry, the remaining half of the piece can then be dipped to achieve full clear glaze coverage.
(technical) - Low-fire and high-fire are relative terms that relate to breaking up the vast range of firing temperatures that are most often used in ceramics. High fire clays, such as stoneware and porcelain, mature and glaze at higher temperatures ranging between Cone 8 - Cone 10 (2320 degrees Fahrenheit - 2381 degrees Fahrenheit)
(technical) - A kiln is a heating oven used to convert ceramics and glass at high temperatures.
(technical) - Kiln bricks, used to line the inside of kilns, work to insulate heat and make energy use efficient when firing. They are made of ceramic refractory material, which allows them to withstand the high temperatures reached in kilns.
(technical / product) - Kiln posts are used to support kiln shelves by raising the bottom shelf off the floor of the kiln and by separating shelving within the kiln.
(technical) - A kiln relay switches the power to a kiln’s elements on and off, and is found in the kiln’s control box.
(technical) - Kiln shelves are used a base on which bisque or other fired mediums are positioned onto when being fired in a kiln. Multiple kiln shelves can be used to arrange a large quantity of projects in the kiln for one firing.
(technical) - Kiln vents are necessary for safe kiln operation. There can be harmful emissions when glaze and clay elements are heated, and kiln vents work to properly ventilate kilns while firing. There are 3 types of kiln ventilation: updraft, downdraft, and crossdraft.
(technical) - Kiln wash is applied to the kiln shelf to prevent glaze from sticking to the shelf during firing. There are multiple kiln wash recipes, but a typical kiln wash is a combination of alumina hydrate and kaolin. To use, mix 1 part powder to 5 parts water for preparation of kiln shelves.
(marketing) - In a studio, hosting a ladies night event is a great means of generating revenue for your studio business, and also a guaranteed way to spread word and market your business to large groups of people. While some studios offer ladies night events focused around a particular project or technique, other studios plan ladies night events through the use of a particular discount - it’s all about what works best in your studio setting!
(technical) - Low-fire and high-fire are relative terms that relate to breaking up the vast range of firing temperatures that are most often used in ceramics. Low-fire earthenware refers to clay bodies that mature and glaze at lower temperatures ranging between Cone 06 - Cone 04 (1855 degrees Fahrenheit - 1971 degrees Fahrenheit).
(technique) - Majolica is a glazing technique in which an opaque glaze is applied to pottery, and then painted with colored oxides.
(product) - Marabu Pens are paint pens that are used to accent and decorate glazed, fired bisque; and can be cured onto the bisque surface with a conventional oven, instead of a kiln.
(technique) - Masking is a technique used to decorate pottery, and is achieved by creating designs on the surface of a piece using Art Tape, Decorative Stickies, or contact paper. Once the design is created, simply paint over the masked area then remove once complete to reveal the design.
(product) - Matte glazes are used on ceramics to achieve a smooth, but non-glossy finish after firing.
(product) - NC Homegrown is Bisque Imports’ exclusive line of handmade, artisan, ceramic bisque created locally in Belmont, North Carolina. Each piece is handcrafted for a unique look and feel.
(technical) - Oolites are little pebbles of calcium carbonate. These pebbles form naturally and it is unclear their reasoning for formation, although warmer temperatures and vibration while glazing seems to be factors. Oolites can be removed by straining glaze, and preventative measures include the use of a consistent straining schedule and the use of distilled water when thinning out clear glaze.
Orton Pyrometric Witness Cones
(technical) - Pyrometric Cones are used to measure the effects of both time and firing temperature inside a ceramist’s kiln. In the ceramics industry, the combined effect of temperature and time is called “heatwork” and is one of the critical aspects of successful pottery and ceramics. When used correctly, Orton Pyrometric Cones are sensitive devices capable of indicating differences in heatwork with a remarkable degree of accuracy.
(product) - Overglazes refer to the group of special low-fire products that are applied to an already fired glaze surface. During an over glaze firing, the underlying glaze is softened enough to allow the over glaze to sink into and become a permanent part of its surface.
(product) - Paint dotters, available in a variety of sizes, are easy-to-use decorating tools used by artists to create perfect circles and dotted designs on bisque or other canvas surfaces.
(technical) - Peep plugs are small, ceramic pieces usually shaped like cones, and are used to plug the spy/peep holes on kilns during firing.
(technical) - Pin holes are small holes that appear in the glaze on fired pieces of bisque, which penetrate down to the clay body. Despite the name, pin holes are often larger than the size of a pin head.
(product) - Puffy paint in the context of ceramics refers to a thickened form of underglaze paint that, once applied onto bisque and fired, retains a raised texture on the bisque surface. Puffy paint can be painted, sponged, or applied to bisque through the use of a small squeeze bottle; and is used to create detailed, 3-dimensional designs.
(marketing) - PYOP is an acronym for Paint Your Own Pottery.
(technical) - Resisting occurs when the surface of bisque ware “resists” the application of glazes, slips or underglazes. This can be the result of a substance, such as dirt or wax, creating a barrier on the surface of the bisque, or the result of an over-application of glazes or underglazes on the bisque surface.
(technique) - Sgraffito (in Italian “to scratch”) is a decorating technique that is done by applying underglaze to bisque, and then scratching off the underglaze to create contrasting images, patterns and texture and reveal the bisque underneath.
Shaving Cream Art
(technique) - Shaving cream art is a technique used to achieve a marbelized or tie-dye look on bisque.
(technical) - Shivering takes place when the paint and glaze chips or flakes off after being fired in the kiln. Thermal shock is a direct cause of shivering in most cases. Thermal shock is when the cool down process happens too quickly, causing the bisque and glaze to shrink at different rates. Shivering can also be a quality issue from the bisque or underglaze used. Old or low-quality underglaze or also a bad batch of bisque from your bisque supplier can cause shivering when removing from the kiln. Other causes include: underfired or overfired bisque, heavy glaze application, and dust residue on the bisque surface.
Sieve Mesh Screen
(technical) - Sieve mesh screens are metal screens that can vary in size, and are used to sift glazes.
(product) - Silk Screens, similar to stencils, can be used to transfer intricate designs easily to bisque, glass or other canvas surfaces. Bisque Imports offers pre-made designs, created using a very fine mesh material, as well as a Silk Screening Kit to create your own unique, one of a kind silk screen designs. Paint, when mixed with a pinch of glaze thickening powder, is pushed through the mesh design onto the surface, thus reproducing the design on the project surface.
Silk Screen Medium
(product) - Silk Screen Medium is a product that, once mixed with Glaze Thickening Powder, can be used for silk screening intricate designs onto glass.
(product) - Specialty glazes refer to glazes used to create special effects on bisque. Depending on the type of specialty glaze itself, results can vary between a glossy, matte, or textured finish once fired. Unlike underglazes, speciality glazes (like overglazes) require no clear glaze before firing.
(technique) - Splatter painting is a technique used to apply paint to bisque, and is achieved by flicking and dripping paint onto bisque or another canvas surface to create a splattered look.
(technique) - Sponging is a technique used to apply paint or glaze using a sponge.
(product) - Stencils are thin sheets of plastic or metal, created with pre-cut designs. Stencils can be used to reproduce the designs on bisque and other canvas surfaces through the use of tracing, painting, sponging, or spritzing the open design areas.
(product / technical) - Stilts are used to support glazed bisque in the kiln during firing.
(technical) - Stilt marks refer to tiny, unglazed bubbles on the underside of fired bisque, located at points in which the bisque piece was suspended on stilts during firing. After firing, these points are oftentimes sharp, but can be sanded down using Stilt Stones.
(technical) - Stilt Stones are used to buff away marks that appear as a result of stilting.
(marketing) - Hosting summer camp programs in your PYOP studio can be a wonderful opportunity to attract new business to your studio. We believe the best summer camp projects are economical, creative, and offer the child several different mediums to work with. Bisque Imports offers a large selection of products - from bisque to mosaics, glass, and crafts - that are perfect for summer camps, as well as resources to help you plan and implement successful summer camp programs. Check out our resources section online to view project guides and lesson plans, summer camp guide e-books, video tutorials, and more to get inspired!
(products) - Tag-Alongs are small, usually flat shapes of bisque primarily used as add-ons or embellishments to a larger bisque piece. These small bisque shapes can also be used individually to create magnets, game pieces, and more.
(technical) - A thermocouple is a device used to measure high temperatures that occur within a kiln during firing, and consists of two wires of different metals: platinum and rhodium.
(technical) - When painting bisque, three coats of underglaze are necessary in achieving an even, solid coat of color.
(product) - Tots are small, three-dimensional bisque shapes offered by Bisque Imports used as add-ons or embellishments to a larger bisque piece.
(product / technical) - Underglazes are used to paint bisque, with 3 coats of application yielding the best results. In order to be food safe, bisque painted using underglazes requires a clear glaze prior to firing.
(product) - Underglaze pencils allow painters to draw designs or write names on bisque, rather than paint. Unlike regular pencils, marks made using underglaze pencils do not burn away once bisque is fired.
(technical) - Viscosity is the thickness of a liquid, or its ability to flow. When used in a ceramics context, viscosity refers to the thickness of glazes, which specific glazes requiring a specific viscosity range to achieve best results. When using clear dipping glaze, for example, viscosity must be measured prior to dipping using a viscosity cup to achieve intended results.
(technical) - Vitrification occurs during firing, and is the process by which clay bonds to become dense and nonabsorbent.
(technical) - Warping refers to the distortion of bisque shapes that occurs during the firing process. Causes of warping vary, although most cases are the result of either excessive heat exposure or unbalanced stilting.
(technique) - Wax resist is used to mask areas on bisque where you do not want color or glaze. Once applied, the bisque piece can be fired to Cone 06 to remove the wax, then dipped in clear glaze and fired to cone 06 again to achieve desired results.
(product) - Writer bottles are used by artists to apply paint to bisque in a controlled manner, and can be used to create detailed designs, such as lettering, easily.