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Craft Techniques

High Temperature Ceramics

High Temperature Ceramics

High temperature ceramics refers to clay that is fired in kilns using temperatures between a minimum 1200 ºC and maximum 1300 ºC.

The process begins by extracting the clay from nearby banks found in the surrounding hills of many communities and workshops.  Next the clay is mixed with water and kneaded by hand until the desired consistency is reached.  Individual pieces are than sculpted and shaped either by hand, mold or wheel. After having been left to partially dry, the piece are smoothed over to rid their surfaces of any remaining imperfections and then they left again to dry completely before being fired for the first time at a temperature of 950 ºC.  Once they are fired, the pieces are hand glazed and fired for a second time at a much higher temperature of 1200-1300 ºC.

There are many different techniques used to decorate high temperature ceramics throughout Mexico. In the State of Mexico, the potter first glazes the surface of the piece and then etches the painted surface revealing the natural color of the original clay generating visual texture and rich surface patterns. In Tzintzuntzan, Michoacán, a strong pictorial tradition is represented in the local pottery where depictions of scenes from daily life, flora, fauna are characteristic of the pieces.

High temperature ceramics refers to clay that is fired in kilns using temperatures between a minimum 1200 ºC and maximum 1300 ºC.