Ceramic - Pottery Dictionary

by Susan Mussi



Vacuum cleaner is an electrical appliance for cleaning carpets and floors by suction. All potters should have one as they save work and are cleaner and much better for health than brooms, which spread dust, or a mop which leaves the floor damp for hours. Buy one that can be used to clean everything, furniture, floors, walls and shelves, etc. Choose the type where the motor and the accessories are separated and connected by a long tube, which makes it easier to get into small and difficult places.

Note: Normally an electric tile cutter throws water and ceramic dust over everything. To avoid this, the motor of the vacuum cleaner can be attached to it. You have to add and alter certain parts, so it does not need water and collects all the powder thrown off during the cutting. When we invented this about eight years ago this type of machine did not exist, it does now! Read more about: Tile – Cutter electric



Varnish is used by potters as an adhesive to hold colors and other decorating materials on to already glazed work. Cover the glazed surface with a thin layer of ordinary, colorless wood varnish. When dry the colors adhere to it and when fired the varnish burns away.
For on-glazing you mix 1 part varnish with 3 parts pure turpentine, this is then mixed with a color and can be painted directly onto an on-glaze surface.
Read more about: On-Glaze



Vase is an open container that can be made of different products, glass, porcelain, ceramics and metal and is made to hold cut flowers in water for decoration.



Click on the title to see more images

Studio ventilation, consists of a tube that goes from the inside of a room to the outside, it has a fan that when rotating pulls the air out and with it goes smoke, dust, powder etc.
Kiln ventilation is also known as a chimney. It is situated above a kiln, has a very large hood with a fan controlled by electricity. When in operation it sucks the air that is around the kiln up through a metal tube to the outside of the building. They are made to remove odors and fumes. With gas kilns it is essential to have exhaust ventilation. Read more about: Chimney / Kiln – Ventilation



Vibratory sieve: these are industrial sieves, run by electricity and supplied with different sized meshes. When working, the motor vibrates and passes slips and glazes through the mesh to clean and mix. There are many types and sizes that are known under different names such as clay mixer, clay reclaimer and sieve vibrator. They all have two sections, the container and the mixer. The mixer can be part of the machine or separate and for small quantities you can buy metal mixers (beates) in one piece of different lengths to use with an electric drill. Read more about: Beater – electric for liquids / Sieves

Video Cutting in internet is known as Screen Capture. It is literally to cut photos out of videos. There are many programs designed for this and the one used here is Paint, I use it because it is free and very easy to work with. I have only found it in Spanish but as the information is with pictures there is nothing to worry about.
The photo used here are taken from my video called -

Majolica the Method of working, Stage 2; Click hear to go to it Putting the glaze-base onto tiles.

This article is to try and make it easier for you to help us. The main problem is with the illustrations so we suggest, if you have a video on your specialty send us the code with your article so we can cut and place the photos with it. First it will be put in one language, so you can read it and if there are parts to change, copy it put it into a Word file, correct it, put what has been changed in red and send it to us and we will correct.

The video can be one you have had professional made or just for cutting photos. Always have a tripod to hold you camera so it can be set it up correctly in relation to what you are going to film. This is difficult because you always sit directly in front of what you are decorating. You have to places yourself so your hands can be seen by the camera.
Turn on the video section of the camera and start working in front of it. Remember in pottery it’s your hands that are being photo’d. In videos that are going to cut you can repeat what you want several times, such as showing the tools being used, how to hold them in relating to working with them.
If possible work near your computer and have it turned on, attach your camera to it and look at your first video to check what you have photo’d is correctly placed, if it is then go on taking all the videos you need.

To work with photos the best is Photoshop if you have not got it use Paint its free and easy and it is used in the following instructions.

1) Open the video a) that you want to copy a photo from. Touch the sign II, b) which is at the bottom left had corner. This will stop the video and holds it in the same place. What you do next to copy and move it depends on the type of computer you are using. With a portable computer click (Ctrl) + (Imp Pant) at the same time and with a desk computer click on (Imp Pant). Doing this keeps and carries the picture to where you want it. This is the front page of Paint. c)

2) To open Paint click it twice and the page d) will come out. Click on Pegar, e) this brings the photo into this file and it is an exact copy of what was saved. f)

3) Click Seleccionar. g) A list is shown click Seleccion rectanqular this allows to draw a section round the part of the photo you want. h) Draw it, Click Recortar and you have it cut, i)

4) Here the photo is finished. j) Click on how you want saved and with which program. k) It then goes to your files and can select where you want to keep it. l)
If you want to see a file with all the photos made with this method go to Bowl – Turning



Vinegar is a sour liquid consisting of dilute and impure acetic acid, obtained by acetous fermentation from wine, cider, beer, ale, or the like: used a condiment, preservative, etc.
Link to Merriam-Webster

Note: In the past, when mediums and industrial dissolvents did not exist, it was added to colors to make them run well.



Viscosity is an internal property of a fluid that offers resistance to flow. For example, pushing a spoon with a small force moves it easily through a bowl of water, but the same force moves mashed potatoes very slowly. In fact, one of the major differences between styles of mashed potatoes is the viscosity of the starchy mass: some people like their potatoes running and teeming with milk and butter (they are fans of low-viscosity potatoes), while others like their potatoes drier and stickier, so they almost crack rather than flow (these people are devoted to high-viscosity potatoes.)
Link to Spacegrant College. University of Hawai

In ceramics, the viscosity of the fired enamel depends on its chemical composition and the firing temperature, viscosity decreases when the temperature is higher and becomes more fluid.
Alkali glazes become more fluid with increasing temperature, so that a slight over firing can make them drain, while the viscosity of the boron ones changes more slowly, making it possible to work at more varied ranges of temperatures as they hardly react to temperature differences.
If a glaze loses water on a vertical plane, this is due to its low viscosity at the firing temperature which has been chosen. Glazes which are too fluid can be made more viscous by adding quartz, feldspar, kaolin or clay.



Vise is a tool used when working with carpentry or metal to hold a piece firmly in position. It is made in metal and can be secured onto a protruding object like a shelf or table. It has two jaws that can be brought together holding the piece in place by means of a handle that works as a screw

a) Movable jaw b) Fixed jaw c) Clamping screw d) Swivel lock e) Turning handle



Vitrify is when heat converts glaze into glass. A ceramic surface of clay or bisque is covered with a glaze then when fired to the correct temperature it vitrifies, this changes the surface, which becomes shiny and non-porous.