Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Printmaking Process: The Ceramic Print

I am attending the Southern Graphics Council Conference: Global Implications in Chicago from March 25th to 29th. Columbia College of Chicago is hosting the conference this year.

Today, I attended the Ceramic Print demonstration at the Art and Design Center at Columbia College. Tom Lucas, director of Hummingbird Press at Lillstreet Art Center, and Matt Harris, ceramicist and instructor at Lillstreet, demonstrated the techniques for printing on ceramics. Tom showed us the photocopy transfer process, and Matt demonstrated screen printing directly on clay and a slip-newsprint transfer process.

Tom mixes special ceramic ink with a modifier.

Tom applies and then wipes off gum arabic from
a photocopy print, and then inks and sponges it
carefully several times without tearing the paper.

Tom applies the print to damp slip with a terra
cotta base, and carefully burnishes the print.
Here he begins to peel off the print.

Several prints can be laid on the same ceramic piece.
Tom applies heavy blue ink to a wood block he
created with silk screening and sand blasting.

Tom creates a new image on top of an old
one (center) by using the wood block (below).

Matt demonstrates screen printing directly
on the damp slip and terra cotta base.

Matt also demonstrates transferring a screen
printed image on newsprint to clay. Here
(clockwise from center right) we have the results
of the two methods: (1) direct screen print on
clay, (2) screen print on newsprint with wet slip
applied, dried, and then used to transfer to the
clay, and (3) the transferred image to the clay base.

Ceramic Print Demo Samples

Ceramic Print Demo Samples

Ceramic Print Demo Samples

Ceramic Print Demo Samples

For more information on classes and workshops on printing on ceramics and the ongoing Ceramic Print Group Exhibition, contact Lillstreet Art Center, 4401 N. Ravenswood Avenue, Chicago, at 773.769.4226, email:

Photo Credit: All photos by Amy A. Rudberg, unless otherwise indicated.


Anonymous said...

My name is Monika Ozog and I have been working with ceramics for a while now. My current project is the combining of photographs on ceramics. I am a little bit familiar with the screenprinting process but have not had good results in transfering photos. I have begun to do a transfer from a photo-lith process (with paper and ceramic ink) but my image does not stick to the clay.
Something is juuust not right.
I would like some advice please. Which process you believe is more effective for transfering photographs?

Amy A. Rudberg said...


I don't print on ceramic so I can't really say what is the best process. I know that when you screenprint on clay, you have to use ceramic underglaze and not ink. In Paul Andrew Wandless's book Image Transfer on Clay, he talks about doing decals on clay. He uses Lazertran with good results.