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Creativity Art Blog

Art & Crafting Hints, Tips & Discussion

  • Making Acrylic Pour

    Create Amazing Patterns with Flowing Acrylic Paint

    Acrylic pour painting is one of the top techniques under the title of “satisfying” and “calming” art. And no wonder it's so popular; from Youtube stars to professional artist, everyone finds it a good fun. It's especially a good technique for those who never painted before, those who are afraid of the blank canvas or those who'd just like to have fun with this messy but amusing technique. Read on to learn different methods you can explore your inner abstract artist!

    What is Acrylic Pouring?

    Acrylic pouring is a painting technique where the paint is mixes with a medium and then poured onto a surface in different ways. Sometimes individual colours are poured onto the surface separately, sometimes one cup is filled with different colours and poured at the same time. You can try many different things, the results will always be incredible and unique!

    What do you need for acrylic pouring?

    Acrylic Paint

    The best type of acrylic paint for this technique is called Liquid or Soft-body Acrylics. For example:

    What Is a Pouring Medium?

    Pouring medium not only helps the flow of the paint, it keeps the colour separate so they don't combine in the pouring cup. It also extends the paint do as to prevent cracking.

    We recommend using GOLDEN's Acrylic flow medium. It's a 100% acrylic polymer emulsion that can be used to extend acrylic colours, regulate transparency, create glazes, increase gloss, reduce viscosity and improve adhesion.

    Find out more and link to buy >>

    GOLDEN GAC 800 

    Amsterdam Pouring Medium 

    Other Supplies:

    Different Pouring Techniques

    (click on the photo for video demonstration) 

    • Puddle Pour

    Puddle pour mean when each colour is individually poured one after the other.

    Mix each colour separately with the pouring medium and water. Ratio: 1:1:<1.

    (You can also add a couple of silicone oil drops to help cell formation.)

    Pour each individual colour after the other onto the centre of the painting, then move the ground back and forth until the paint is completely spread or you achieve the desired effect.

    • Dirty Pour

    This is an easy acrylic pouring technique in which all colours are poured into the same container and then poured onto the painting surface.

    Mix each colour separately with the pouring medium and water. Ratio: 1:1:<1.

    (You can also add a couple of silicone oil drops to help cell formation.)

    The colour mixtures are poured into a new container in layers. Then, this mixture is poured over the painting surface. Move the surface back and forth until the paint covers it evenly.

    • Flip Cup

    This technique is the same as the Dirty pour, the main difference is that the container needs to be on the surface. This way the layers are on top of each other.

    Mix each colour separately with the pouring medium and water. Ratio: 1:1:<1.

    (You can also add a couple of silicone oil drops to help cell formation.)

    The colour mixtures are layered on top of each other. The surface is placed on top of the cup then flipped over whilst holding onto the cup. Carefully lift up the container and let the paint out. Move the surface back and forth, or use a hot air dryer to spread the paint mixture.

    • Bottle Bottom Puddle Pour / Flower Pour

    In this technique, the colour is applied to the painting surface via the base of a plastic bottle. The raised area creates a pattern that resembles a flower.

    Mix each colour together with the pouring medium and water in individual cups. (No need to add silicone for this technique.)
    Take a plastic bottle and cut the bottom off. It's essential that the surface and the bottle are both level, otherwise the pattern won't show.

    Place the bottom of the bottle on the canvas and start pouring small amounts of each colour one after the other onto the bottle. The colours run over the gaps and create a flower-like pattern.

    If you like the result, remove the bottle carefully.

    • Tree Ring / Swirl

    Swirl Pouring is a technique where the paint is applied to the surface with circular movements, creating a pattern that's similar to the annual rings of a tree.

    Mix each colour separately with the pouring medium and water. Ratio: 1:1:<1.

    (You can also add a couple of silicone oil drops to help cell formation.)

    Each colour is then stacked on top of the other in a container.

    The mixture is poured really slowly onto the surface with very small circular movements.

    Then, the surface is tilted back and forth until the pattern is achieved.

    • Wing Pour

    The wing pour is a modified version of the Swirl Pour, where the aim is to get two mirrored wings.

    Mix each colour separately with the pouring medium and water. Ratio: 1:1:<1.

    Then, start filling the cup with each colour. First the one you'd like to appear between the wings. Then pour the second colour to one side of the cup; this will be the colour on the inside of the wings. Next, you want to choose a contrasting colour and pour it in a circle on the previous ones, in a way that the colour is only at the edge of the cup.

    You can add another colour as in step three, that will be visible on the outside of the wings. If you do this you got to add some of the first colour again.

    Raise the canvas a little on the side closest to you and pour the paint in the middle in an even, constant stream onto the surface. This will cause the paint to slide away from you, forming a long wing shape. You can also start moving the cup in your direction all the way to the edge of the surface to separate the two wings.

    • Swipe

    This technique can be used alone or with other pouring technique. It's used to make visible cells or to achieve flowing patterns.

    Apply your colours (mixed with silicone) to the surface with a Puddle or Flip Cup pour. In addition, apply a new colour without silicone. With a tool (painting knife, spatula, moist paper towel or sponge) the individual colour is dragged over the previous layers. The cells should start to form at this point.

    • AirSwipe

    The Air Swipe technique is similar to the Swipe technique, except the paint is applied with air instead of hand tools.

    Mix your colours with the pouring medium and silicone in a separate cups. Then do a Flip Cup Pour. Leave the cup for a bit so the colours can settle. Get a negative colour (without silicone) and pour it around the cup. Distribute it evenly all over the surface, then lift up the cup. Once the cup is empty and the paint is covering the surface evenly, you can start moving the paint with a hairdryer.

    • String

    This technique isn't really a pouring technique as such, but it's used regularly in combination with pouring techniques.

    Mix each colour separately with the pouring medium and water. Ratio: 1:1:<1.

    Before layering the paint, put some 20 to 30 cm long pieces of sisal cord in a container. Pour the colour mixtures into the cup. Alternatively, you can mix the colour first in individual cups and put the thread in separately, which makes it possible for you to decide where to place each colour on the surface.

    Pour the mixture onto your surface. This way the threads, full of paint, are draped on the surface in a way that they wiggle back and forth. At the end you can pull the threads over the surface. The movement of the threads will create interesting patterns.


  • OPEN - Slow-Drying - Acrylics

    What should you know about the GOLDEN Open Acrylics?

    Golden's open acrylic series dry almost as slow as oil paint.

    So the question is, why is it necessary to have Acrylics, that's primary feature is their fast drying quality, as opposed to oils'?

    There are a number of uses you might prefer slow-drying acrylics instead of regular acrylics or oil paint.

    Open Acrylics are slow-drying Acrylic paint that have a little bit softer consistency than regular Acrylic paints. The increased working time makes it possible to work with them similarly to oil paints. Due to their 'open' quality they are a versatile paint medium, that are particularly recommended for portraiture and landscape painting that rely on soft brushstrokes, shades, glazing and fine details. They are also suitable for some printmaking techniques.

    OPEN Acrylics are created by the mix of pigments and 100% acrylic polymer dispersion. Its unique slow-drying quality is achieved by the reaction of the binder, humectants and pigment load.

    Moreover, the benefits of OPEN Acrylics include not only increased working time but it also reduces the amount of waste paint by preserving colour mixtures longer on the palette.

    by Kelly Mudge
    by Kelly Mudge

    Painting - Application / usage Of Golden Open Acrylic

    OPEN Acrylics are in between acrylics and oils. Due to their unique quality of long drying period they can be used similarly to oils whilst keeping all the qualities of standard acrylics. They can be thinned with water or OPEN Thinner. OPEN Gel and Medium can be added to modify the transparency, sheen or viscosity.

    The 'open' quality makes it possible to create unique surfaces, like with subtractive painting.

    and “sgraffito”-like 'drawings' too.


    The consistency of OPEN acrylics is slightly thinner than standard acrylics'. They don't hold their shape well, therefore they are not recommended for thick impasto application.

    Blending techniques

    • Smooth transitions 

    • Dilute with water for a watercolour effect. 

    • Good for layering and experimenting – If you are done with one layer and don't want to unlock the formula, leave it to dry and seal the painting with Fast Medium Fixer. This way you can continue working on top of this layer, having the chance to add or remove new layers whilst leaving the previous one untouched.

    Painting demonstration :


    OPEN acrylics may be quite different from standard ones, yet it is completely possible to mix them together. They can be used on the same painting or mixed in different ratios. It's good to keep in mind that the more standard acrylics are mixed with the OPEN, the more the drying time will be reduced. Mixing standard and OPEN acrylics together works the best when you need a longer working time on different parts of the painting; for example adding soft blends to the edge of clouds.

    by Will Kemp

    Drying times of Golden Open crylic

    So how slowly OPEN Acrylics really dry? Drying times depend on environmental factors as well as thickness of paint. According to the Golden OPEN Acrylics' manufacturers, under “ambient conditions of 70ºF/21ºC and 30% RH, OPEN Acrylics will have an average working time that is approximately 10 times longer than the usual acrylic paints”.

    There's also a great video demonstration by Jackson's Art supplies



    Coverage or opacity of paint depends on the amount of pigments and binders that it contains. The OPEN Acrylics are generally quite transparent, therefore it's recommended to mix them with standard acrylics when you require opaque colours.


    Similarly to oil paint, OPEN Acrylics should be left to dry for a minimum of one month before applying a varnish, and a minimum of two weeks before application of an isolation coat. If there are thicker layers, the drying time may be longer.

    Other uses

    OPEN Acrylics are particularly good for printmaking techniques like lino and monotypes due to their unique quality.

    To learn about these techniques read more here.

    Monoprinting is done by making a drawing on a smooth non-absorbent surface (glass, plastic sheets or Gelli Plate). Then a sheet of paper is placed on top of the plate and the image is created by pressing the two together, helping the image transfer onto the paper.

    Monotypes are unique drawings that can't really be perfectly reproduced after the first pressing as it removes most of the paint from the plate. (The second reprints are called “ghost prints” as they are a lot more faded.)

    Thus Monoprinting is a unique and versatile printmaking technique that's great to use with slow-drying OPEN Acrylics.



    Monoprinting with Patti Brady

    Jane Davies' Monoprinting


  • Oil Painting in Different Forms


    Oil paint is a very well-known, classic medium everyone thinks of when they hear the word 'painting'. Yet it comes in many different forms not only in tube form! Moreover, we've previously covered the new invention, the water mixable oil paint  as well as the 'regular'.

    Oil Bars/ Sticks / Paint sticks

    What Are Oil Bars?

    Oil sticks (also known as paint sticks and oil bars) are simply oil paint formed as a stick. They are made of wax and linseed oil mixed with pigment. They are rolled into a stick form and wrapped in paper. Oil sticks can be used for drawing and painting as they are. They can be mixed on a palette and applied with a brush or knife or used directly on the surface. They work just like regular oil paints; they can be mixed with different oil paint mediums. They dry like oil paint and grow a skin on the paint's surface, however, it is debated whether they cure as oil paint or whether the wax prevent it from completely drying.


    Jaeyeol Han S. Korea) "Passer by Distortion", Size: cm., Oil bar on Canvas,

    How to use Oil Sticks?

    Oil sticks can be used on any surface that's usually good for oil paint, although the canvas or paper should be primed with gesso or sized too. Oil sticks' surface form a protective skin when they are exposed to air that looks like it dried. It can be removed carefully with a rag or palette knife to expose the creamy paint underneath.

    Oil sticks can be used like oil pastels or crayons for drawing or like paint; diluted with turpentine. All oil painting mediums can be used with them. They are particularly good for plen air paining and for bold impasto effect.

    As for varnishing and framing, there's still a debate whether paintings with Oil sticks can be framed without a glass or not. Oil sticks dry like all oil paint but it's questionable whether its wax content prevent them form curing completely.

    Oil Pastels

    What are Oil Pastels?

    The first oil pastels date back to 1925 when the company Sakura created them; a new material that was a cross between crayons made of wax and soft pastels (hence the name cray-pas). They had the properties of soft pastels without the dust. While soft pastels were made of the mix of pigments and gum or methyl cellulose binder, oil pastels were the combination of pigments and non-drying oils and wax binder. Whilst oil pastels harden, they never actually dry completely. They remain the same viscosity on the painting, throughout all the layers and due to the wax content never dry by exposure to air.

    How to use Oil Pastels?

    Blending examples


    The first artist quality oil pastels were made by Henri Sennelier in 1949 on the request of no other but Pablo Picasso, who wanted "a colored pastel I could paint on anything ... without having to prepare or prime the canvas."

    And true, oil pastels don't need a primed surface – they can be used on virtually anything; watercolour paper, pastel paper, regular drawing paper or indeed, canvas, wood metal and even glass.

    There are many different tools you can use with oil pastels, from blending stumps / tortillons to tissues, cloths, q-tips or even your fingers! For a graffito technique, palette knives, paint shapers or the end of pain brushes work well too.

    Oil pastels can be layered, but because they don't dry, a new layer will always slightly blend with the one underneath. Although quite different, oil pastels can be used with oil painting mediums like linseed and thinners like turpentine to help blending and create painterly effects.


    How to Seal Oil Pastels

    As oil pastels never truly dry, they need to be protected and sealed once the work is finished. There are varnishes particularly made for oil pastels and they protect the painting from scratching, smudging and dust. It usually has a glossy finish and transparent that doesn't alter the colours. For maximum protection it's a good idea to frame the work behind (plexi)glass.

    Pam Carriker Oil Pastel, Stablil, Sgraffito on Yupo


  • Drawing with...

    Charcoal and other smudge-tools

    Graphite, charcoal, conte pencils... they seem like everyday tools in an artist's toolbox, yet they shouldn't be underestimated. There's no need for expensive materials to create great work!
    If not sure about the difference, read more!



    The most obvious one is, of course graphite pencils, and graphite in other forms. Mechanical pencils for precise, thin lines, graphite sticks for broad free work and even graphite powder.

    No matter how "basic" graphite can seem, it has its own wonders - see the example for how many different shading techniques and patterns are there!


    Hatching: Creates shades by applying parallel lines. The closer they are the more even the effect.

    Crosshatching: This technique is comprised of a series of intersecting lines. The lines can cross each other at various angles.

    Stumping:  This is created by smudging the graphite. It can be done with your finger, a cloth, a paper stump.

    Stippling: Is done by creating shades with a series of dots – lots of dots close together create darker shades.



    Perhaps the oldest drawing tool is charcoal – that has many different forms as well, such as pencils, powder, sticks or vine.

    Artist’s charcoals are made of finely ground organic material and a gum or wax binder. It’s a great tool for producing soft, light lines or intense black surfaces. It’s easily removable yet it leaves stains without the use of fixatives. It can be applied to smooth or course surfaces alike.

    Depending on the manufacturing method, there are different charcoal types that have slightly different qualities.

    Compressed charcoal is shaped into a block or a stick. Its intensity depends on the hardness – the amount of gum or wax binders that are added to the powder. The harder the charcoal is the lighter the marks are.

    Vine charcoal is the long and thin stick that’s made by kiln firing vines. Vine charcoal is great for dusty, soft lines and for covering surfaces, making it less suitable for detailed drawings.

    Charcoal pencils are essentially the same as sticks, they just look like a regular pencil. They are great for sharp, thin lines used in detailed drawing as they can be sharpened with a regular pencil sharpener.

    Useful tools for Charcoal drawings include blending stumps, paper towels, kneaded and regular erasers.

    Charcoal is a great material for drawing, for beginners and professionals alike! It's relatively easy to use, cheap and you can achieve dramatic light and shadow differences, but it's Jenny Saville is one example of many professional artists who use charcoal in their practice.

    Jenny Saville's studio



    Conté sticks or crayons are composed of powdered graphite or charcoal, mixed with clay or wax and pigments. Nicolas-Jacques Conté.

    invented them in 1795 to create a cheap alternative to graphite during the graphite shortage caused by the Napoleonic Wars.


    Conté crayons are most commonly black, white, grey and sanguine tones, but with additional pigments they are available in many different colours. They have very good lightfastness.

    Conté sticks differ from soft pastels in many ways.

    Conté sticks differ from soft pastels in many ways. They are harder and more waxy than the powder-like soft pastels and are suitable to create drawings, unlike the “painterly” soft pastels. It’s easy to control them and they are suitable for small details. They don’t produce a lot of dust.

    They are the best on rough paper, but they work on different surfaces like toned paper, canvas, boards, or newsprint.

    Anthea Polson 's work


  • Ceramics Without Firing?

    Alternative 'Clays' That Don't Need a Kiln

    Like sculpting but not a fan of the hassle that comes with ceramics, especially firing? There are many other options for you that are similar to the properties of clay, some you can even make yourself in the kitchen!


    Polymer Clay

    Polymer Clay is a versatile material that works like clay and becomes hardened by baking in a regular kitchen oven. When it’s baked it can be cut, sawn or glued, as well as painted, varnished, and re-baked with additional fresh clay. 

    Polymer clay comes in many different colours that are also mixable. There are unique clay variations that glow in the dark, pearlescent, metallic or fluorescent.

    Polymer clay is not a natural clay, it’s made up of resins and polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

    Note that once the package is open you need to keep it in an airtight container or paper, away from direct sunlight and heat.

    Polymer clay should be baked in the oven on a baking sheet cover with foil or parchment according to the package’s instructions. The clay will be completely hardened after it cools down. Always bake according to the instructions as the overheated/ burnt clay can let out toxic fumes. It’s recommended to bake it in a ventilated area.

    Polymer clay can be painted with acrylic paints and varnished with acrylic or alcohol based varnishes. Baked clay doesn’t need varnish but if you want a glossy finish you can use gloss varnish.

    Air dry clay

    Air dry clay has a quite telling name: it’s a natural clay that doesn’t need firing or baking, as it dries solid when it’s exposed to air. It’s a good alternative to regular clay when you need to make something quickly, something small or inexpensive. It’s great for sculpting, decorative items, jewellery or other craft projects.

    Air dry clay works just like regular clays – it has the same texture, can be formed the same way and will dry to similar consistency. You can use water to soften the clay and to create slip (the mixture of clay and water).

    The difference that’s good to keep in mind is that air drying clay starts the drying process as soon as it’s out of the packaging. Therefore it requires relatively quick work time and you need to keep the items in air tight packaging if you want to continue working later.

    Once it’s dry you can paint it or spray paint it.

    Cold Porcelain

    The name is misleading: cold porcelain isn’t actually a porcelain. It’s an an inexpensive, non-toxic and easily made material. It’s a mixture of cornstarch and glue and to enhance its smooth texture you can also add oils and glycerol. It’s advised to add lemon juice and sodium benzonite to the mixture to prevent the growth of mold.

    Cold porcelain doesn’t require firing, it simply dries on air. However, due to its contents, it’s possible to soften it by heat or water even after it dried, so it’s not suitable for some projects.



    Tools -->
    White Clay -->
    Terracotta Clay -->
    Modelling Clay -->


  • Cyanotype

    Cyanotype Printing Process

    Cyanotype is a photographic printing process that creates cyan-blue coloured prints. This technique was primarily used by engineers to produce inexpensive copies of drawings, up until the 20th century. Their contemporary use is mostly for artistic value or craft purposes.



    The cyanotype process was discovered by English scientist and astronomer Sir John Herschel in 1842. He developed the process primarily to reproduce notes and diagrams, similarly how it was later used by architects and engineers.

    It was Anna Atkins, English botanist who first started using cyanotype process for photographic purposes, and sometimes she is claimed to be the first female photographer. She created a series of cyanotype books documenting plants, ferns and seaweed mostly.

    Cyanotype of British Algae by Anna Atkins (1843)
    Anna Atkins' cyanotype



    • 25 grams of Ferric ammonium citrate (green)
    • 10 grams of Potassium ferricyanide
    • Water (distilled if possible)
    • Scale or measuring spoons
    • Measuring jug
    • 3 glass containers for mixing ingredients
    • Plastic spoons
    • Face mask (DIY style)
    • Goggles
    • Rubber gloves
    • Apron or old shirt
    • Newspaper to cover work surface
    • Cleaning cloth
    • Brushes or coating rod
    • Clothes pegs (plastic)
    • Washing line or rope (plastic)
    • Art paper ( heavyweight watercolour or printmaking papers is highly recommended) or fabric for coating
    • Glass or a contact print frame
    • Sunshine or a UV light source


    Mixing the chemicals

    You will need two types of chemicals for this process, Ammonium ferric citrate and Potassium ferricyanide. They usually come in powder form, unless you buy premixed solutions in cyanotype kits.

    First you need to make two separate solutions and mix the two together in a third container.

    This recipe is for 50 8x10 ich prints.

    Solution A: 25 grams Ferric ammonium citrate (green) and 100 ml. water.

    Solution B: 10 grams Potassium ferricyanide and 100 ml. water.

    Dissolve the chemicals in water to make the solutions. It’s advised to prepare both in a brown bottle as the solutions will be sensitive to light. You can keep the leftover solutions away from light but they won’t last very long. Make sure to dispose of the chemicals correctly!

    It’s important to note that the mixture can stain clothing and skin, therefore it’s a good idea to cover your work surface and to use rubber gloves and other protection. Make sure to work in an area that’s not lit by UV or sunlight, as that will affect the solution and the prints too. Coloured lights are the best.

    Prepare the solutions and the surface you will be using.

    For best coverage, it’s recommended to use foam brushes.

    It’s enough to coat your surface once, as any drips or gaps will be visible. Leave the paper to dry in an unlit area.

    To print a cyanotype, you will need to place your object (to make a photogram) or negative ( to reproduce the photograph) on the surface. Photograms work the best if the object is flat, but you can experiment with lots of things for different results.

    Place the glass on top, and expose it to UV light. The exposure time varies a lot depending on the light source and season.

    To process the print, after it’s been exposed you will need to rinse it in cold water. It’s best to rinse it in running water until all the chemicals are removed – and the print turns deep blue. You can also put it in a Hydrogen peroxide solution to secure the print and avoid fading.


    More examples:

    Combine this technique with pressed flowers,

    Try different shapes,

    Or make artist books with our guide.

    References & Recommendations:

    • Cyanotype Printing

  • What to Know About Ceramics

    Everything you wanted to know about clay, and its other forms


    What is Clay

    Clay is made up of the finest rock particles that are eroded by wind and rain. These particles usually build up on the bottom of rivers and lakes where they stick together and form into clay consistency. Clay is a very versatile material and has several different states from liquid to rock-like hardness.

    What is Ceramics

    Ceramic is the ‘final’ state of clay, when its chemical composition changes after being put through a high temperature firing. Clay in this form is no longer dissolves in water, it’s heat resistant, corrosion resistant but still brittle.

    Important Terms

    • Wet Clay - mixed clay that is elastic and ready to be formed.
    • Leather-hard - the stage of the drying process when the clay is hard enough to be handled without altering its shape but it's still possible to work with it.
    • Greenware - the sate of the clay when it's dry but still not ready to be fired.
    • Bone dry - fully dried clay that is ready to be fired. at this stage the clay is very brittle.
    • Bisque - the first firing, that makes the surface porous so the surface can absorb the glaze.
    • Grog - a sand-like substance that's added to the clay to help workability, to reduce shrinkage and add strength.

    Classes of Clay Body

    There are many different types of clays available, and it’s important to chose the best for your projects, as each type has different qualities, and what works for pottery might not be the best for sculpting.



    Earthenware clays are the oldest and most common type of clay. They are easy to work with, and because they contain iron and other minerals it’s possible to be fired at a lower temperature (between 950°C and 1100°C). This means that they are more fragile than other clay types, can’t really hold liquids if unglazed, but glaze colours are a lot more vivid than stoneware ceramics’.

    Naturally they are red, orange, yellow or light gray, and once fired they have a brown, red, orange, buff, gray or white colour.


    Stoneware clays share similarities with stone once fired – as in hard surface. Stoneware ceramics are excellent for functional items like dinnerware, as they can hold liquids and are more durable. Their firing temperature ranges from 1180 °C to 1280 °C. Stoneware clays are usually gray or brown.


    Porcelain and kaolin are considered the best type of clays for pottery. They are largely made up of silicate and are resistant to high temperatures. As porcelain is made up of fine particles, it’s very smooth and can be used to create extremely thin forms. It’s relatively difficult to work with because of its low plasticity. It’s also quite delicate before firing as its optimum density is only achieved before its melting point. Porcelain’s firing temperature is up to 1,400 °C. It’s characteristically white or light coloured unless it’s been mixed.


    • Slab Building - Slab building is a technique where the clay slabs are rolled or pounded flat in order to use them for constructing objects.

    • Hand-building - Hand-building is quite literally forming objects out of clay with your hands. Clay portraits are a good example of purely hand-made forms.

    • Coiling - Coiling is a good beginner technique that's suitable for both pottery and sculpture. Coiled pots are built up with rolled up clay in a spiral. Read more 

    • Throwing - Throwing means the technique of using a pottery wheel that keeps the clay spinning, thus making it possible to create symmetrical vessels.


    There are two main types of firing, Bisque firing and Glaze firing. Bisque firing is the first firing the clay goes through after it reached the ‘bone dry’ stage. During bisque firing all the chemicals and organic residue burn out of the clay. After this first firing the clay becomes ceramic; it hardens into a rock-like consistency that’s no longer dissolves in water. Its surface becomes porous, perfect for the glaze to adhere to.


    It’s worth knowing that clay shrinks when it dries and then when it’s fired for the first time. Shrinkage depends on the specific type of clay and can vary between 4% to 15%


    Ceramic glazes come in many different colours and types, from transparent to opaque, matt or glossy, cracking or metal effect.

    While you can experiment a lot with different combinations, there are some basics to note.

    Glazes are basically glass melted onto the ceramic object. In order to stick evenly to the surface, glass is mixed with different components and binders. Glazes come in powder form that you need to mix yourself and as liquids that are ready to use.

    In general glazes not only add colour or ‘shine’ to your pieces, but makes the ceramic object vitreous, and seals the clay so it becomes able to hold liquids and depending on the glaze, food safe.

    Glaze Firing

    Glaze firing is usually done in a higher temperature than bisque, and it finishes the process of making a ceramic object. It’s a faster firing process than bisque as by this time the clay body doesn’t contain as much water; what happens during glaze firing is that the glass melts and solidifies on the object. It’s important that the glazed object doesn’t touch other objects or the surface of the kiln as it will be glued together. To avoid this, make sure to place each object at least an inch apart, and to leave the parts that touch the kiln unglazed. You can either use wax to leave unglazed surfaces or just wipe off the excess with a wet sponge.


    If you want to try ceramics in Dundee, make sure to check out the Dundee Ceramics Workshop!


  • Bookbinding Techniques 5. - Single Sheet Binding

    Single Sheet Binding

    This technique suites best when you have lots of individual sheets (or drawings, paintings, etc.) that you would like to combine into one book. It's a relatively easy technique and quite similar to coptic stitch.


    • Paper
    • Board
    • Booktape (optional)
    • Thread
    • Binding needles
    • Awl
    • Scissors
    • Cutting mat

    The Method Step by Step

    photos from Sea Lemon's video

    Optionally, you can use booktape on the edge of the paper where you’ll be binding in order to secure the paper from tearing.

    Measure about 13mm from the edge of the paper then mark three holes 2cm apart. Do the same on the other side.

    Then pierce the holes.

    The same on the cover.

    For this technique it is recommended to use bend needle – 6 needles to be exact, as each of the six holes will be bound with an individual thread.

    When beginning the binding start with the first hole on the first sheet,

    Come back around

    And tie a knot in the end.

    Go around to the first hole of the cover.

    Loop around the thread

    Repeat the same with the other holes.

    Beginning the second sheet with the first hole. Loop it around the paper,

    And then loop around the thread.

    Do the same with the remaining holes, then continue it until you reach the cover.

    Binding the cover is pretty much the same as binding the sheets.

    Loop around the first hole,

    Loop around the previous stitch,

    And back around the stitch once more through to the inside,

    And try a knot on the inside thread.

    Cut the excess thread, and repeat the same method with the remaining holes.

    And it’s finished!

  • Bookbinding Techniques 4. - Japanese binding

    What is Japanese Stab Binding?

    Japanese stab binding patterns are great for a simple, minimalist book design. As it won't be able to lay flat when it's open, it's ideal for display purposes. One of it's advantages, however, is that it's possible to add, take out or change the order of the sheets even after binding, therefore it's the ideal bookbinding pattern for photo albums and recipe books or collections.

    There are four major binding patterns.

    The Noble Binding ( Koki Toji)

    The Tortoise-shell binding (Kikko Toji)

    The Hemp-leaf binding (Asa-No-Ha-Toji)

    And the Four-hole binding (Yotsume Toji)

    In this guide, you'll learn how to do the 'beginner' pattern, the Four-hole binding.

    You’ll need:


    Cutting mat


    Binder clips




    Waxed thread

    Method: Step by Step


    Four images might not be enough to get it for the first time, but it is an easy technique!
    (Images from Sea Lemon's tutorial video)

    Make a template for the binding holes using a sheet of paper that’s the same size as your book.  First make a 1inch line from the spine’s edge, then fold the paper in half  three times. Unfold the paper and mark the place of four holes spaced like on the photo.

    Put the template on your book if it’s thin enough or you can do it in separate sections.

    Use an awl to make holes into the paper where you marked it on the template.

    It’s useful to clip the sheets together so they all stay together.

    For binding, you need to use a single thread without a knot at the end. Measure enough thread (around 5 times the height of your book, it’s better to have longer than to run out.)

    Take a portion of the book…

    and start from the bottom on the second hole.

    And leave about 4-5 inches ( 13 cm) at the end and leave it inside the book.

    Wrap it around to the bottom of the book and back through the same hole.

    Then comes the next hole…

    Wrap it around and go back through.

    When you reach the last hole wrap around and back through again

    Then wrap around the end and back through again.

    Make sure to keep the thread tight throughout!

    Next step is to weave through the following hole and always wrap around.

    Now you should be at the 2nd hole where you started from.

    And pull it through the last hole.

    Wrap around the back.

    Wrap around the end as you did the other side.


    And finish it with going back to the 2nd hole.

    Return the needle between the pages where the end of the thread is.

    Pull it through and tie the thread, cut the excess.

    And it’s finished!


    References & Photos:


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