Medalta workers sponging ware
20th Century, Circa 1940's
Medalta Potteries Limited, Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada


banding wheel - a turntable operated by hand, used for decorating purposes

bisque - clay that has been fired but not glazed, sometimes referred to as "biscuit".

decal - a printed design using ceramic inks on specially prepared paper (a glue, then a base coat of clear material is applied, followed by the inks.) To apply, the decal is immersed in water for a minute or two to loosen the glue enough to slide the clear decal onto the ceramic surface (slightly porous paper is used so that the water can soak through it).

glaze - a liquid suspension of finely ground minerals and man-made powders that is applied by brushing, pouring, dipping or spraying to the surface of ware. When the ware is fired, the glaze forms a thin glassy layer that provides a hard, non-absorbent, easily cleaned surface which adds strength and prevents chipping.

green ware - unfired ceramic pieces

hollow ware - pottery items such as cups, jars, vases and bowls, as distinguished from flatware such as plates, saucers, etc.

lacquer - painting directly applied to bisque ware and not requiring an extra firing, allowing for a wider choice of colour but not a durable finish

refractory - the ability of a material to withstand heat without deforming or melting, eg. kiln shelves, firebrick

saggar - container that comes in varying sizes, made of refractory clay, into which ware was set for firing. Saggars helped to protect the ware, both bisque and glazed, from dirt, furnace gases, uneven heating and thermal shock.

stamps - images, patterns, numbers, etc. cut out in relief on rubber and attached to wooden handles, coated with oxides and then pressed against the surface to be marked.

stencil - a device for applying a design to a surface; consisting of a thin sheet of metal, cardboard, etc. into which the design has been cut so tht a colorant or glaze can be applied, often by airbrush, through the incision onto a surface