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Széchenyi 2020

Finishing and firing

After the first firing, the majority of porcelains are applied with a layer of glaze, independently of whether during the second firing the porcelain is burned densely and has no need for it to be made watertight. The porcelain glaze is primarily important from an aesthetic perspective, but by the same token, it makes a porcelain vessel easier to clean and tougher. It is also important as a carrier of the paint and furthermore, it has an ornamental role as a coloured glaze.

After the first (glaze) firing and directly before the finishing, the objects have to be blown down by filtered air, since the small particles on the surface can obstruct the glaze adhering well to the pottery. The scrupulously cleaned products are dowsed in the glaze which is the most frequently used finishing method. The porous pottery draws up water from the paste, and a thin layer of glaze is deposited on the surface together with the absorbed water. The thickness of the forming glaze layer depends on the consistency of the glaze and the finishing technique. Following the finishing process, the glaze must undergo cleaning too. Subsequently cleaning down the drips also ensures that areas where glaze is lacking (mainly due to fingerprints) are filled in.

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Ceramic goods, among them porcelain, attain their final firmness and shape during firing. If we were to place the raw porcelain next to the fired version, we would observe a significant difference in size between the two objects. The largest shrinkage is observed during the high temperature firing (ca. 20%). Firing occurs in a 1 m3 gas kiln at 1350°C.