[Clayart] VERY low fire glaze

Marci marci at ppio.com
Wed Dec 18 18:26:07 EST 2013

>Hello clay lovers,
>I am trying to venture into firing gold leaf onto my ^7 porcelain, 
>and have been scouring the web for info from those who may have tried this.
>I have in the past used lusters, but the smell is FOUL and I felt 
>ill after working with them outside even briefly.
>I would like to try a less toxic approach to getting gold onto my 
>pots, so I have resolved to figure out how to fire gold leaf onto my 
>work.  Thanks to Marci the Chinapainter's old posts on ClayArt, I 
>know that I need to first fire a flux or china paint onto the work, 
>then add the gold leaf for a subsequent firing.
>I wonder if anyone out there knows what the fluxes for china paint 
>are made from, as I probably have the chemicals required after these 
>some twenty years of scavenging...  Also, has anyone out there done 
>this?  What should I use to adhere the gold to the "glaze + flux" 
>surface?  And has anyone tried adding more flux on top of the gold 
>leaf as a protective measure?  I know that lampworkers use metal 
>leaf with glass and it withstands those temperatures just fine, but 
>perhaps they use gold foil (double thick leaf) rather than regular gold leaf...

  Hi Jennifer.
The jar of flux I have says:
Borates , Inorganic lead ( Frit 65997-18-4.. which a search for says 
is lead bisilicate ) , silica quartz and zinc. because of the 
extremely low fired range  of overglaze colors, they do all contain 
lead ( even the ones marked lead -free ) ... but they are used 
in  very small amounts .. very thin coats ...
   Gold leaf by itself wont stick to a glaze without some fluxing 
agent under it to act as a glue. China paint, ( which contains flux ) 
will work .. or  china painting flux itself will also work .
    The paint or flux can be mixed with an oil ( mineral oil works 
fine )  and painted on in a thin coat and fired to china painting 
temps ( 018 to 015 .. anywhere in that range ) ... and then the gold 
leaf can be applied to the top of that and fired... Or you can also 
mix the paint or flux with a drying oil ( traditionally fat oil which 
is made by letting turpentine evaporate until you get a honey 
like  oil  that can be thinned if needed with more turp ) ...
   This can be painted on ( and then usually  pounced over with a 
piece of silk  covering a cotton ball  to make sure you have a thin, 
even coat ) ... Then it is set aside until it is tacky to the touch 
.. The leaf is then applied over that .. and fired.
      there is an explanation of this grounding process on our PPIO 
  In this lesson , Bev Stone dusted dry metallic paint ( mica ) over 
the grounding oil  in a process called " dry grounding" . In the case 
of the  gold leaf application , you d follow the directions up to the 
sprinkloing on of the dry powder.. and substitute laying down sheets 
of gold leaf . You would also  tamp down the gold leaf with a soft 
stippler brush to make sure it sticks to the grounding oil ...
    Flux added over the gold wont protect it. It will just make it 
really shiny and take away from the rich look . Gold, by nature , can 
be removed from a glazed surface by abrading it... just like the 
gold  rims are often  rubbed off from fine dinnerware pieces . It 
takes a fair amount of rubbing to remove it  though .
    and no , it doesnt need to be double thickness. It just needs to 
be real giold leaf.. not the fake metal leaf found at Michaels and 
places like that . Metal leaf will turn black .
  marci the china painter 

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