Pigments, porcelain and patience...

If you have been reading my blog posts for a while, you may remember I have written about the miniature porcelain painting classes I take...

If you have been reading my blog posts for a while, you may remember I have written about the miniature porcelain painting classes I take once or twice a year.  I really enjoy them and for a long time now I have wanted to buy a kiln so I can paint porcelain pieces and fire them myself.  

Unfortunately kilns are very expensive so buying one wasn't really an option.  Until a few weeks ago when I managed to buy a small kiln without going into bankruptcy.   The kiln goes up to 1000ºC which is more than enough for firing porcelain glaze paints (they need around 800℃).

Although I have painted porcelain before, mixing the paints was always done for us.  So, the first thing I did was make a colour chart with the pigments I have.  I had a lot of fun trying different mediums and learning how to mix the paints.   

The firing process itself takes 6 to 8 hours.  One of the more difficult things is to keep my curiosity under control and not peek inside the kiln until it has cooled completely.   Ah, that pesky patience!

 Here I tested different mediums and different firing temperatures with quick little sketches on tiles.  My painting technique needs to improve, but it will over time.  I also need to paint smaller so I am on the hunt for tiny brushes.

I had some cheap dishes in my stash and wanted to see whether I could fire them in my kiln, so I quickly painted them with a little design based on an old Chinese piece.   Here again I tested different mediums and mixes to see how it would look once fired.  

I made a bit of a mess in some parts, but I was impatient and fired them anyway.  Again, technically they're not good but as an experiment they were a success.  I must do better next time though!

 
These pieces are only test pieces but they look rather nice in the Arts&Crafts inspired dining room in my first Canal House.  I now need to practise, practise, practise until I achieve pieces I am happy with.   I've got a whole set of china for the dining room waiting to be painted...


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42 comments

  1. Hi Josje,
    How wonderfull to see that you've finally got a kiln!! Looking forward to hear about your new adventure during our next porcelain class!

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    1. Hi Jeffry, yes, it's a tiny one, but big enough for miniatures. I'm at a fun stage now of experimenting because as you know, we really don't know anything about it ;-) It's a bit far for you, but you're always welcome to fire something if you need to!

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  2. Omg, lots of pics please! I'd also love to have a kiln, they are very hard to find. Congrats in finding one!

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    1. Haha Idske! I have thought of you several times these past weeks. It's just a little kiln, but perfect for firing glazing paints! I'm having fun experimenting now.

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  3. How wonderful to have your own kiln! Your test pieces are very good, I predict a brilliant career in porcelain painting for you!!

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    1. Thank you Susan. I'm very happy to have the kiln. I really hope I will improve my painting techniques in time. For now it is just a bit of fun with colours.

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  4. Enhorabuena por tu horno. Tus primeras piezas son muy bonitas. Espero que disfrutes mucho con las siguientes.

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    1. Thank you Isabel. I'm having fun and can see exciting possibilities!

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  5. Oh boy! How wonderful to have your own kiln for firing porcelain. I think your plates look great! I look forwad to seeing many more painted projects.

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    1. Thank you Catherine! It is rather exciting and fun. I have started from nothing basically, as I knew nothing about firing and glazing pigments and still don't of course ;-) But experimenting is something I have always enjoyed doing. Eventually I'll figure out how to do it right.

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  6. Hello Josje,
    What a wonderful tool! Your test pieces are already fantastic. I cannot wait to see what amazing work you will make. Congratulations on the great purchase.
    Big hug,
    Giac

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    1. Hi Giac, thank you! I have been doing a lot of research into lovely porcelain period pieces I'd like to miniaturize, but I think my ambitions are a bit lofty at the moment ;-)

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  7. Wow, Josje! You are much too hard on yourself! Your painted plates look wonderful! And your sample color palette makes me really look forward to seeing what you will produce! I think it is wonderful that you can now fire the glazes yourself! It is incredible how much detail you have managed to get in your little "test" pieces. I know how tricky it is to find the right brushes. I have always relied on very worn out tiny brushes... but sometimes you get a better fine line with a longer "hair" but only very few of them! I look forward to seeing what you discover for brushes! Your work is Always So Inspiring!!!

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    1. Thank you Betsy. Well, there is so much still to learn about the firing, pigments and all the different techniques. I have started a long journey of discovery, but it is a fun one! Yes the brushes are quite important here. They must hold enough of the pigments to paint but must also have very fine points for the detailed work. The old ones I have just won't do. I'll find them ;-)

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  8. My Goodness! What You think is 'not good' , looks Terrific to me! I know that I would be crowing like a rooster, if I was able to paint a plate and have it remotely resemble Anything discernible. Your little sketches on the tile, are lovely and it fascinates me that I can see and identify, all of the details in both. They look like toile. Your Chinese export plates, have such fine detail in the leaves and the simple centre circle and ultra fine trellis outline that sections them off,.... beautiful. I know that you are not a complete novice, but if this is how you begin your china painting career, then LOOK OUT WORLD, CAUSE HERE COMES JOSJE!

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    1. Ah thank you Elizabeth. The world still has loads of time to run from me, as I am a very slow worker and I'm sure it will be many years before I perfect these skills.
      The sketches do look like a toile don't they? They're actually inspired by a dish from an old Dutch porcelain company. Good idea though to use toile de Jouy as inspiration. Thank you, I will use that idea!

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  9. Great that you found a kiln, very inspiring. Happy experimenting---

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  10. Wat leuk dat je nu zelf thuis aan de slag kunt met porselein beschilderen. Het wordt vast een groot succes! Ik zou het ook wel willen leren dus als je in de toekomst een keer een workshop gaat geven dan hoop ik ook mee te kunnen doen. Veel plezier en succes met experimenteren!
    Groetjes Aurora

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    1. Ha een workshop...nou dan moet ik nog veel experimenteren hoor! Maar je kunt bij Cocky Wildschut workshops volgen Aurora, dat is hartstikke leuk!

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  11. Gefeliciteerd met je aankoop Josje en ik wens je er veel plezier mee maar dat zal wel lukken... Ik vind je bordjes er prachtig uit zien en zie niet wat er mis mee zou zijn. Wat een prachtige miniaturen in je Arts&Crafts eetkamer.

    Fijn weekend Xandra

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    1. Dank je Xandra, technisch zijn de bordjes niet zo geweldig uitgevoerd, maar ik ben er wel blij mee hoor!

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  12. Josje, you'll master it in no time.
    you are so darn good at all you make! if it weren't you I'd be envious ! ;o))
    I cannot wait to see the dining room plates
    Wish you loads of fun
    Rosanna

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    1. That's sweet of you Rosanna! But there is a lot more to this porcelain painting than one would think, so I'll have many years of practicing ahead of me ;-)

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  13. That's fanatstic, I'm sure you'll have a lot of fun with it and the painting. I already admire what you've done so far. I'm looking forward to seeing more of your work.
    Geneviève

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    1. Thanks Geneviève! I hope to show a few pieces now and then.

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  14. Oh Josje! I'm lowness away at your talent!! There is nothing you can't turn your hand to! The plates look wonderful, so delicate in colour and workmanship.
    I really love what you have created, well done.
    Hugs

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    1. Thank you Simon! But I assure you, I still need a lot of practise!

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  15. Que bien que ya tienes horno!!! espero con impaciencia tus nuevas creaciones!!!!
    Besos.

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  16. The test plates are fantastic, good for you getting a kiln, you deserve to own one!!! Paintbrushes that Warhammer hobbyists use might be worth investigating.

    Sarah :)

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    1. That's a great tip Sarah! Thanks, I'll look into that.

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  17. I know porcelain painting can be tricky, the colours change in the kiln don't they? My sister did it for a while, full-size pieces, but couldn't be coaxed into trying minis. I wonder what she did with her kiln ...

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    1. Yes, some colours look very different after firing, so my colour chart is very useful to me while I learn to work with the pigments.
      Oh maybe your sister still has her kiln! That would be fun, you can try it yourself and ask your sister to teach you.

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  18. wat fijn dat je een eigen oven heb succes met het kiezen van de kleuren ik ben benieuwd naar de resultaten
    groetjes Joke

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    1. Dank je Joke. Ja ik ben blij met mijn oventje. Nu kan ik porseleinen bordjes schilderen zoals ik ze wil hebben. Nou ja, eerst heel veel oefenen natuurlijk ;-)

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  19. Schitterend Josje
    ik doe het je niet na

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  20. Hi Josje,

    Kun je mij vertellen welk merk pigmenten je hiervoor gebruikt? Is het voor over- of under glaze? Ik kan voorlopig geen pottery classes volgen omdat de pottenbakster het te druk heeft voor haar kerstshow en toen bedacht ik dat jij een post had over pigmenten!

    Groetjes, Idske

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    1. Hoi Idske,
      Jammer dat je geen classes kunt volgen op het moment, maar je kunt zeker thuis gaan schilderen! Ik gebruik loodvrije over glaze pigmenten van Schjerning (hier vond ik ze het goedkoopst: www.gerstaecker.nl). Als medium gebruik ik Universalolie (3 uur drogend), of gewone baby-olie met een beetje terpentijn. De kenners zeggen dat de oude loodhoudende pigmenten mooier bakken, maar aangezien ik toch geen ervaring heb maakt dat voor mij niet uit.
      De kunst is nu natuurlijk om mooi porselein te vinden. Dat is lastig, zeker nu Avon er niet meer is. Jij doet het beter door zelf je stukken te maken!
      Veel plezier met schilderen!
      Groet, Josje

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    2. Dank je wel! Porselein is niet zo'n probleem omdat ik nog allerlei mallen heb. Alleen nog even vragen of ze die wel met haar potten mee kan bakken. Zij had ook wel pigmenten maar ik vond het allemaal nogal grof. dit is een mooi project voor de herfstvakantie!

      Ook een kans om mallen te maken voor een paar bordjes van verschillende maten. Voordat ik dan kan schilderen ben ik wel een maandje verder, maar het is een plan!

      Groetjes, Idske

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    3. Graag gedaan! Ik hoop je er aan toegekomen bent. Groet, Josje

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