Ceramic - Pottery Dictionary

by Susan Mussi

DRY CORD - A method in decorating pottery.

ca: CORDA SECA - Mètode per a decorar ceràmica.

es: CUERDA SECA - Método para decorar cerámica.

Dry Cord is the literal translation of the Spanish “Cuerda Seca.” It is a method of making the outlines of a design on a lower level than the glaze-base or colors and it can be done in two ways. The following three sections show examples of how this method can be used.

The tiles can be bisque or covered with a glaze color or glaze-base. The design has been prepared to the size needed and the outlines pounced. They are then marked onto the tiles with black charcoal – powder if what you are working on is a light color or white industrial talcum powder if it is dark color or bisque.

1) The tiles have been prepared with a glaze-base or color and the outlines marked on. The outlines are then scraped off. When finished brush off any loose particles and round and clean the edges with a soft brush and water. These parts are on a lower level and can be left so that the color of the bisque is seen or painted with a transparent glaze or a color to accentuate the outlines and the dimensions of the design.

2) On bisque tiles the design is marked on. Then the outlines are painted either with oil paint, which will burn away when fired, leaving the red of the bisque showing, or painted with a dark pottery color, which will stay. The spaces are then filled with colors or a glaze-base and then decorated.

Tools needed
a) Make a scooper as shown in the drawing. Use a dowel or an old pencil with a thin bit of flat metal, bent in a triangle shape, attached to one end. Its size depends on how big you want the outlines to be.
b) A clean, soft brush to clean off the loose glaze
c) A cup of clean water and a soft brush to smooth the rough edges.

Note: Dry Cord has 4 sections, this is the next Dry Cord (1) they are all connected and if you go to the letter “D” you can see them all together.