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The degree of moisture that will soak into plaster when casting, or into bisque when glazing or decorating with nonfired colors.


Refers to the process of emphasizing an area with lighter or darker colors, by shading or outlining.


Greenware parts that are added to the main casted piece (Example: handles to cups).


The ability of a fired or nonfired color to stay in place on a given surface.


Refers to the process of allowing newly mixed casting slip to set, undisturbed, for several days. This process allows the ingredients to homogenize for best casting qualities.


The process of applying color with the use of a small air-pressure gun. Used for shading and general decorating.


A decorating process in which you remove applied color to accentuate detail.

Antiquing Gels

Nontoxic, nonfired, water-based colors that can be used to antique over all Duncan nonfired colors.

Antiquing Solvent

A thinner for airbrushing nonfired, oil-based colors. Antiquing Solvent can also be used as a cleaner/conditioner for brushes used with oil-based colors.


A type of ceramic add-on.


Refers to applying color to ware in decorative bands. Usually done with the aid of a banding wheel.

Banding Wheel

A hand-operated turntable used in banding and other types of decorating.


Material, such as gum arabic, added to hold ceramic ingredients together.


Fired, unglazed objects of clay. Generally, bisque is clay that has been fired to a kiln setting of cone 04.


Refers to the appearance of broken bubbles found on the glazed surfaces of fired ceramic pieces.


The term used to describe any formula of clay. Often called clay body. The composition of any clay body will change depending on where the clay is mined.


The process of filling a plaster mold with casting slip (liquid clay) to create a clay object. Once the plaster mold is removed, the clay object is known as greenware or unfired clay. (See pouring.)

Clay Carbon

Carbonless paper used for transferring designs onto greenware (unfired clay).

Cleaning Greenware

The process of removing mold seam lines and imperfections from unfired clay objects.


Refers to moon-like craters that may appear on a glazed surface.


Refers to a glaze defect in which the glaze pulls away or crawls away from the bisque, leaving bare bisque areas.


Refers to a glaze defect in which hairline cracks appear on a fired glaze surface.


A decorating technique that calls for applying alternate coats of color at perpendicular angles.


A design, printed with ceramic colors on special paper, which can be applied to the surface of ware and fired for permanency.


A method of applying glaze by immersing a piece in a container of glaze.


An effect achieved by applying nonfired color very lightly with an almost dry brush.


Refers to leaving the bottom of a piece unglazed so that stilting is not necessary.


A raised design on a clay piece.


The metal band of a brush just below the bristles.


The process of maturing ceramic products by varying degrees of heat. Firing usually takes place in a kiln.


The undesirable transference of a soft glossy sheen onto unglazed ware when high-fired glazed and unglazed ware are fired together.


Refers to shiny edges on ware, often produced by overfiring.


The term used when referring to the running or moving qualities of a glaze.

Flowing Coat

The term used to describe applying color with a well-loaded brush.


Refers to the bottom of ceramic item.


are implements used to make full use of a kiln's capacity (shelves, posts and stilts).


A fired finish consisting of a prepared mixture of frit that produces a glass-like surface when fired.

Glaze Brush

A brush with long full hairs for the application of glazes and underglazes.

Glaze Butting

The term used to describe placement of two or more glazes in proximity on the same piece.

Glaze Trailing

Refers to the use of a fine-tip squeeze bottle to trail one glaze over another to create a design.


The process of creating a wood-grained effect using thinned, nonfired colors applied in long, uneven patterns.


The term used for unfired clay articles.

Greenware Drill

A small tool with a threaded point used for drilling holes in dry greenware.

Greenware Preparation

The removal of mold seam lines and imperfections from unfired clay objects. (See Cleaning Greenware)

Greenware Saw

A small tool having a serrated edge for cutting dry greenware.

Grit Cloth

An abrasive cloth used for cleaning greenware or bisque.

Grit Sponge

A square sponge that has an abrasive surface on one side.

Hard Bisque

Ware that has been fired to witness cone 04 or hotter. (See Soft Bisque.)

Hard Spots

Areas that will reject color, and sometimes cause ware to have bare spots. Commonly caused by improper greenware casting.


Refers to ceramic articles or glazes that are fired to witness cone 4 or higher (stoneware and porcelain).

Immature Bisque

Ware that has been fired cooler than witness cone 06.


Refers to the technique of cutting a clay surface to create a design.


A heating chamber for hardening and maturing clay and glazes.

Kiln Furniture

Implements used to make full use of a kiln's capacity (shelves, posts and stilts).

Kiln Wash

A coating used on the tops of kiln shelves and kiln floors to protect them from glaze drippings.

Lace Tool

A long, pointed tool used when applying thin strands of clay.


The term used to describe clay items that are damp but firm enough to handle without losing their shape.

Liner Brush

A brush used for fine lines and design work.


Refers to completely filling a brush with color.


An overglaze that imparts an iridescent surface to the ware.

Majolica Technique

Refers to applying underglazes in a design over an unfired, nonmoving glaze.

Maturing Point

The temperature needed to mature glaze or clay.

Modeling Clay

Prepared clay used for hand modeling.


A hollow plaster-of-paris form in which articles are reproduced using clay slip.

Nonmoving Glazes

Ceramic glazes that move or flow very little in the glaze firing.


The term used to describe paint products conforming to U.S. standard ASTM D-4236 to contain no materials in sufficient quantities to be toxic or injurious to humans.


Refers to nontransparent color.


A decorative finish applied over a fired glaze surface and made permanent by firing.

Overglaze Compatible

A glaze that will accept overglazes for a third firing. Glazes that contain copper for added color are not overglaze compatible.

Palette Knife

A flexible knife with no sharp point used for mixing or stirring color.


Tiny holes penetrating a glazed surface.


Refers to the pliability of modeling clay.


Refers to the permeability of fired or unfired clay.


Columns of refractory material used to support shelves inside the kiln. (See Furniture, Kiln.)


A technique in which you apply color with quick up-and-down movements with a brush or sponge.


The process of filling a plaster mold with casting slip (liquid clay) to create a clay object. Once the plaster mold is removed, the clay object is known as greenware or unfired clay. (See Casting.)


An instrument that indicates temperature in the kiln.

Rolling Consistency

Refers to the consistency to which glazes are thinned for rolling inside ware.

Rolling Glaze

A method of covering the inside area of ware by rolling thinned glaze inside.


Refers to the fluidity of a glaze at the point of maturity before cooling and hardening.


Refers to the process of scratching tiny criss-cross lines on areas of greenware that will be fastened together with Duncan's Patch-A-Tatch or clay slip.


A priming coat of thinned opaque underglaze or glaze.

Sea Wool Sponge

See Wool Sponge


Spray or brush-on coatings for use over nonfired colors to protect the surface and enhance the colors.


A ridge formed in greenware where mold pieces join.


Refers to the process of creating a design in ware by gently scratching through applied color to reveal the color or the clay body beneath it or to create carved designs.

Shelf Supports

are columns of refractory material used to support shelves inside the kiln. (See Posts, Furniture, Kiln.)


are flat slabs of special high-temperature materials on which ware is placed inside kilns. (See Furniture, Kiln.)


occurs when the glaze or underglaze and the clay body are incompatible. The clay body shrinks more than the color, causing the color to peel or break away.


The reduction in size of a clay object as a result of firing.

Silk Sponge

Used for decorating. It has short hairs on its surface and is soft when wet.


The term used for clay in liquid form.

Slip Trailing

The process of applying slip in an applicator bottle to flow on design for a raised effect.


Refers to the greying or discoloration of a glaze, caused by underfiring.


The process of holding a certain temperature in the kiln chamber for an extended period.

Soft Bisque

Ware that has been fired to witness cone 06-05. (See Hard Bisque.)


A dissolving agent used in antiquing and to clean brushes used with oil-based colors.


A method of applying small flecks of color to ware, usually with a bristle brush.


Refers to the use of a sponge to apply colors directly to the surface of a piece.


Refers to the process of applying separate successive coats of glaze by fractions of an inch to prevent glazes from flowing together.


Refers to the process of using paper perforated with a design through which color can be brushed or sponged onto a surface.


are supports used to separate a glazed article from a shelf during firing. (See Furniture, Kiln)


A method of applying color by pouncing the tip of a brush loaded with color against the ware.


A natural low-fired clay. Terra-cotta is also a color name.

Thermal Shock

Refers to extreme temperature change, usually caused by removing fired pieces too soon from the kiln.


The process of lightly apply diluted colors over a base coat or coloring a product with another product.


Touching tip of loaded brush with other colors for muted shading or accenting.


Refers to transparent color, allowing color underneath to show.


A ceramic color used under a glaze.

Utility Items

Functional, rather than purely decorative items. Examples of utility items would be plates, vases, pitchers, bowls and planters.


Refers to the rate of resistance to flow.


The term used to describe an impervious or waterproof surface.


The term for a color and water solution used for shading and antiquing.

Water-Based Antiquing Gels

Nontoxic, nonfired, water-based colors for antiquing over all Duncan nonfired colors.

Wool Sponge

An open textured sponge and soft when wet.