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Bisque Ceramics : Introduction

About Bisque Ceramics

Bisque is a special form of clay that is very popular among hobbyists. It is known by several other names such as biscuit clay or parian clay. The Chinese were the proponents of the bisque clay. It has taken them several centuries to bring this porcelain in the form it is available today. For several years, bisque porcelain was the monopoly of the Chinese.

Today, a whole industry has developed out of the use of bisque clay in ceramics. Bisque ceramics generally involves intricate creations such as the human figurines, dollhouses, bird figurines, small bibelots and other delicate artworks. Bisque ceramics art works are commonly sold in gift shops and generally consists of mantelpiece items used to enhance the home décor.


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Properties of Bisque clay

Bisque clay is different from other kinds of clay. The following are the properties that make this kind of clay unique:

I. Bisque is an unglazed form of porcelain.

II. It is white in color and is translucent.

III. It binds together to form a hard, nonporous ceramic.

IV. It can be hard-fired.

V. Its finished surface is highly adhesive, and can take on layers of paint.



Manufacturing of Bisque Ceramics

The manufacturing of bisque ceramics requires a very specialized process, which is done on the industrial scale by duplicating an original figurine. An artist is required to make the original figurine, which is later copied using casts. The following raw materials are required:

I. Porcelain

II. Pumice

III. Water

IV. Plaster for making the molds



With these raw materials ready at hand, the manufacturing process begins. The following steps are followed meticulously during a bisque ceramics manufacturing process:



I. The design of a bisque ceramics item is first conceptualized on the computer, or by hand. An artist makes the original figurine with clay. Detailing is very important.

II. Next, plaster casts are made out of the figurine. Sometimes, the artist will be required to make several casts of different parts of the figurine.

III. Now, porcelain clay is mixed with adequate amount of water to form a slurry known as slip. When the plaster casts are totally dried, the porcelain clay slurry is poured into the casts. The porcelain clay is allowed to rest until it takes the shape of the cast and hardens. Then it is removed by tapping on the cast.

IV. Generally, the figurine is made from several casts. At this stage, the parts of the figurine, known as greenware, are taken for the first firing.

V. After the first firing, the different parts of the figurine are joined together using the previous slip. The seams are removed and all fragments of the cast still adhering to the assembled figurine are removed.

VI. Then artistic details are added quickly, because the figurine can dry up at this stage.

VII. A firing process in the bisque kiln follows, when the figurine is kept for up to 14 hours to a temperature of 2300F. After this baking, the figurine loses its moisture completely and vitrifies. It shrinks considerably and the final bisque ceramics figurine is ready.

In most bisque ceramics manufacturing, the initial products are unglazed, but they are glazed later on by the process mentioned above. This adds to the esthetic appeal of the bisque ware.



Bisque Ceramics as a Hobby Art

Today, there are many centers where bisque ceramics courses are held to teach the techniques of bisque ceramic making as a profitable and enjoyable hobby. In these bisque ceramics making classes, bisque ceramics are first prepared using the manufacturing process, and then people add several of their artistic designs on them. This tests the individual creativity of the participants, and makes it a very interesting way to discover hidden artistic talents. Amazingly affordable fees are charged per participant, ranging from a mere USD5 to USD10 per person, thus making these bisque ceramics making class very acceptable and popular among hobbyists.

Bisque ceramics are very beautiful creations that bring delight to every home. The sheer beauty of this art attract and entice new entrances into this industry who long to play a part in creating these delicate items of beauty and elegance. This accounts for the reason why many people are learning the craft and making their own unique bisque ceramics creations. These in turn get good profits for the creator in the décor shops. Due to the popularity of this art form, there are also several thriving online businesses that sell only bisque ceramics items.






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