Ceramic - Pottery Dictionary

by Susan Mussi




Brown is a color that has been used a great deal in pottery. It is an earth color and varies enormously when mixed with other colors. We think of it as dark, but it ranges from a light cream to nearly black.

The following five are ones we use in the Majolica method.

1. Brown – manganese is dark brown usually mixed with a little red and blue. This tends to give it a purple-brown shade and increases its strength. It is used for outlines and shading with the Majolica method. It is a temperamental color that you have to be careful with, as it burns away. When painting outlines make sure it is strong and be careful as it often blisters.

2. Brown-red came into Spanish pottery from England during the eighteenth century. It is reddish brown and a warm color, good for shading and outlines.

3. Brown – dirty is a mixture of manganese and ochre. This is called dirty brown because when in liquid form it has a dirty, muddy color, but when fired, becomes a dark, warm brown. It is not strong and must be applied quite liberally.

4. Brown mixed is 50% brown strong and 50% brown-red and used instead of manganese for outlines and shading.

5. Brown-strong is a very dark color used a lot for shading over or under another color. When used for shading, it must be well diluted with water and applied thinly.