Japanese potters describe hand built(slab-work, coiled) pottery using coloured clays as Nerikomi and work made on the wheel with coloured clays as Neriage.
In 2009 I began mixing stains with porcelain and produced some unexpected results.
The four buttons to the right show some of my early efforts in slicing/joining different coloured porcelains.
These buttons have nichrome wire shanks fused(with glaze) to their backs in order to attach to fabric.
It is evident how the blue and brown vividly contrast which was unexpected and generally the colours have real depth.
Stains respond well with the pure white of porcelain clay producing intense tones that offer potential for some great contrast.
Coloured clays can be blended together with gradated effects or simply sliced in strips and laid on top of each other in order to create visual effects.
Initially the biggest problem was to narrow my palette and concentrate on selected shades; the range of colours available is tremendous but As they say, less is more.
Buttons proved ideal subjects for experimentation as they required small, inexpensive amounts of clay and could be sold for a profit to finance the operation.
Porcelain is an ideal media for producing buttons as the firing process makes them machine washable
I recall fondly days sitting at a table in a workshop in Cornwall, listening to the radio, drinking tea spending endless hours making button after button.
The smaller buttons pictured to the right show some advance in my style, cleaner lines, simpler designs.
Over time my technique improved with attempts at sculpture and vessels but I pine for the early days that provided me with an opportunity to investigate a world of colour.