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About Antiquing: Article or Project

Tutorial/Informational

What is Antiquing?

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Antiquing is a term used in many crafts, but for the sake of ceramics, it is a bit different. Primarily, it is the process of applying a contrasting paint/medium to a bisque item and then wiping it off leaving more color in crevices and design areas than on the smooth surface or high spots. This can be done with both non-fired finishes as well as fired finishes. This process works best with translucent colors but can be done with most any paint medium.

Back in the day, most non-fired antiquing mediums were oil based. They were wonderful in that they were controllable with the use of Mineral Spirits to wipe away as much or as little as desired, even when somewhat dry. There are not many oil base stains still on the market. The commercial trend was to go to water base, which do not 'move' easily and once they dry on the item, they are difficult to remove.

Most common use has been to paint an item with full details or one color (a base coat) then taking a darker, contrasting color and antiquing the entire surface. The darker color will effect the underlying colors and change them significantly. It is a beautiful effect in itself, but many people use it because it helps camouflage less than perfect lines between colors and sets off details of an item with little effort..

For fired items, most often underglazes were used on the greenware then bisque fired. Once fired, another underglaze was applied over the desired area and when dried, it was wiped off with a damp sponge and water. Then, when dry, the entire item was glazed and fired.

There is no rule as to what color combinations can be used, nor is it necessary to antique the entire piece. There are times when a special effect is wanted such as antiquing wood to make it look more like a specific kind of wood, but not the animals that are on or next to the wood. Or maybe someone wants the saddle of a horse to look more like leather, but they want the horse pure. Different colors of antiquing can be applied to different parts of the item and can also be sandwiched between layers of color.

At one point in time, �Pickling� became a trend and every one antiqued their items with white (or pastels), which softened the colors underneath rather than darkening them.

There have been a few techniques done differently. I'm thinking of Gare as an example, who produced an antiquing that they recommended for some projects to be applied to bisque and then dry brush over it. Most paints don't work to well without a base coat, but Gare's did and there are a few other products on the market that will also work. The artist can also add a few drops of glycerin to the paint to help it spread and stay damp while working a small areas at a time.

Another method of antiquing is to base coat your item with any color, antique it with a contrasting color and then wet brush, or dry brush over that. Transluscents work wonderfully when attempting to sandwich the antiquing in between. They can blend together creating even more depth. If you don't want them to blend or want to enhance the color, just wait until they dry then add another layer of the same or a different complementing color. Fashionhues is a great example of this technique and they have many translucent colors to satisfy any artistic whim. Their primary aim and process is to base coat, antique and then finish with translucent colors. Again, you can combine using translucents and opaques on the same piece for multiple effects.

For a softer effect, an item can be painted with stains, then sprayed with a fixative and then antiqued. This will allow removal of more of the antiquing and it will create more clarity of the base colors.

Combining any or all of the above can open many doors to creativity and are only limited by your own imaginations.

 

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