Dinnerware Terms
Guide to Dinnerware

Acid-Gold: decoration where the design is acid-etched into the body then painted with liquid gold after firing. Top

Backstamp: name, stamp, or signature of the manufacturer on underside of the ware. Top

Basaltware: unglazed stoneware, usually black with a dull gloss. Top

Bas-Relief: sculpted elements that are slightly raised. Top

Batch: the precise mixture of ceramic ingredients which under heat processing is transferred into either glass or clayware. Top

Batt Wash: refractory material painted onto kiln furniture to protect against glaze runs. Top

Beading: also called jewelling, features an enameled raised dot design. Top

Belleek: Irish company known for thin, cream-colored, pearly-glazed porcelain. Top

Bisque or Biscuit: clayware fired once for hardening, but not yet glazed. Top

Blank: undecorated piece, usually one subjected to further processing. Top

Blunger: large vat in which raw materials in liquid and solid form are mixed together. Top

Bone China: contains up to 50% animal ash, mostly ox bone, which is burned and ground to a fine powder. Top

Bright Gold: liquid gold paint which when fired comes out bright requiring no polishing. Top

Burnished Gold: more expensive dull gold which must be rubbed to a shine. Top

Casting: a process in which the slip is poured into a mold and set. Top

Ceramics: generic term referring to all ware made of earth materials and processed by firing or baking. Top

China: another generic term usually referring to fine porcelain. Called china because thatís the country credited with creating dinnerware. Top

Clay: raw material formed when rock breaks down either due to the weather or chemical processes. Top

Coupe Shape: plate lacking a shoulder, flat across the diameter and rolled up slightly at the rim. Top

Crackledware: clayware surface marked by tiny cracks deliberately induced by sudden cooling. Top

Crazing: a defect in the glaze caused by the difference in the rate of contraction between the body and the glaze. Top

Decal: a design-bearing sheet applied to ware resulting in transfer decoration. Firing makes the decal permanent. Top

Delft: pottery originating in Holland characterized by a colored clay, white glaze, and blue decoration. Top

Dresden: white china generally heavily decorated originally developed in Dresden, Germany. Top

Earthenware: clayware fired at low temperatures (generally around 900°) producing a heavy, porous, opaque body. Glazed to hold liquids, not as durable as porcelain, and chips easily. Top

Embossing: raised or molded decoration produced in the mold or formed separately and applied before firing. Top

Enameling: metallic oxides ground to a fine powder and fired at low temperatures used to decorate already glazed pottery. Top

Encrustation: decoration of precious metal applied in liquid form and then fired. Top

Engobe: decoration in which white or colored slip is applied to the body. Top

Faience: French-made pottery referring to a high-fired glazed earthenware, usually bearing a colorful decoration. Top

Feldspar: an ingredient of clay. Top

Filling-In: decorating process where transfer print outlines are filled in by hand to produce multicolor effects. Top

Filter Press: press used to extract water from slip. Top

Firing: baking process where all ceramics are subject to hardening, strengthening, or fusing. Top

Flint: ground flint is mixed with some pottery bodies to control expansion in the kiln. Top

Gilding: using gold or platinum to decorate ware. Top

Glaze: glossy transparent or colored coating baked onto clayware to make it nonabsorbent and resistant to wear. Top

Glost Firing: firing right after glazing. Top

Greenware: unfired clayware. Top

Ironstone: developed in England originally contained iron slag. Fired briefly at low temperatures. Top

Jasper: stoneware body known for its fine soft finish developed by Josiah Wedgwood. Top

Jiggering: jigger machine used to shape plates. Top

Kiln: oven in which ceramics are fired or baked. Top

Limoges: porcelain originating from French city of Limoges. Kaolin deposits were found in Limogesí soil in 1768. The rest is history. Top

Lining: dinnerware decoration consisting of parallel lines running around the edge of the plate. Top

Lithographs: transfers used to decorate ware. Top

Luster: ceramic glaze coating, metallic in nature, which gives the finished piece an iridescent effect. Top

Majolica: Italian pottery glazed with tin-enamel and usually decorated with rich colors. Top

Matte Finish: flat glaze finish without gloss. Top

Meissen: Europeís first factory to produce hard-paste porcelain. Top

Melamine: chemical name of the compound generally considered the leading plastic for making dinnerware. Top

Motif: dominant feature of the design. Top

Opacity: the property of reflecting light diffusely and nonselectively. Top

Open Stock: purchase of individual pieces rather than place settings. Top

Overglaze Decoration: design applied after firing and glazing. Colors are more vivid than colors under the glaze. Top

Parian: unglazed china developed in England said to resemble marble from the Greek island of Paros. Top

Porcelain: hard, translucent clayware usually consisting of 50% kaolin, 25% quartz, and 25% feldspar fired at high temperatures. Kaolin provides plasticity, durability, and consistency and influences the whiteness of the body; quartz provides stability; and feldspar provides vitrification. Top

Pug Mill: machine that kneads clay to remove bubbles of air and give and even consistency. Top

Quimper Ware: colorful French pottery of peasant character from French town Quimper (pronounced kam-PEAR). Top

Refractories: materials which can withstand high temperatures. Top

Reject: a piece of imperfect ware. Top

Salt Glaze: semi-matte or half-glossy glaze obtained by injecting salt into the kiln during firing. Top

Scraffito: decoration produced by casting a piece with a layer of colored slip then incising a design in that layer so the original body color shows. Top

Screen Printing: decoration in which stencil-like screens are used to apply colors. Top

Semi-Porcelain: misnomer really. Used to describe grades of earthenware. Top

Shoulder: raised rim of a plate. Top

Silica: one of our most abundant minerals and a vital ingredient in dinnerware. Basic component of glazes. Top

Slip: mixture of clay and water used to produce the body and decoration. Top

Slip Coating: layer of slip applied to a body for decorative effect. Top

Stilts: small pieces of bisque with metal or wire spurs used to support glaze ware during firing. Top

Stoneware: dense clay fired at 2400°. Stoneware is generally glazed in subdued earthy tones giving a hand-crafted look. Porous and chip-resistant. Top

Terra Cotta: reddish brown pottery whose color comes from the clay which is fired but not usually glazed. Top

Texture Glaze: colored glaze in which dripping, running, eruption, or some other controlled disturbance heightens the effect. Top

Throwing: forming clay manually by shaping it as itís rotated on a potterís wheel. Top

Transfer Printing: decoration similar to decal applying, but permitting only one color applied at a time. Top

Translucency: the quality by which light passes through an object. Top

Tunnel Kiln: long tunnel-like oven where clayware is fired as it is carried on slow moving flat cars. Top

Underglaze: decoration applied directly to the bisque and then covered with a protective glaze coating making it resistant to wear. Top

Vitreous: literally like glass and means the ware wonít absorb water. Top

Vitrification: during firing silica is changed into glass and bonds all ingredients together. The proportion of a glassy bond increases and its porosity lowers. China is fully vitrified. Top

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