Creating delftblue ceramics

Are you curious about our production process? Then look no further. Here you can read about every step of the making of ceramics and Delft Blue.

Step 1: Creating the master mold

It all starts off from a mold. For each ceramic item, each shape there has to be a master mold. This master mold, made of gypsum or plaster, is a model in the equivalent shape of the product itself . Out of this master mold are cast renewable negative moulds, the so-called production or working plastermolds, In these eventually liquid clay is cast to obtain the ceramic. For some shaped clay throwing is used instead of claycasting, mainly for our delftplates and florist pottery. For more information on how we make our delftware pottery just ask us.

Still before casting the clay in the mold we need to make liquid clay, clayslip, The raw material comes in as dry powder, its all mixed to desired condition in a huge claysliptank, which you can see in the video above.

Step 2: Casting the clay

As mentioned the working moulds are filled with liquid clay. A part of the clay attaches itself to the inside of the plaster thus extruding the water and forming a clayslip crust. The remaining will be poured out. When the clay crust has dried the mould (which consist of several parts) can be opened. The product is taken out carefully. Subsequently the product is polished and finished. After this the clay is baked for the first time. Clay that has been fired once, is called ‘biscuit’. Biscuit is dry and still porous earthenware pottery, ready for underglaze decoration.

Step 3: Delft handpainting and finish

The Dutch artisanal ceramic of our serie ‘De Wit’ , named after a Dutch pottery from Gouda (1960-2000) are all entirely handpainted. There is a standard and a luxury authentic Delftware version. All other items belong to the Montagne Delft series; silkscreen patterns underglaze and partial printing on the biscuit like a logo with company name or a self made design. Then the product is glazed by way of dipping and spaying. Finally the delftpiece will be baked for a second time to become a shining delft masterpiece. 

See more behind the scenes om instagram, for example this: Delft monster vase

The choice for method 1, 2 or 3 is made by our costumers in accordance with the quality needed, the quantity to be made and also with the delivery time

1. Painting by hand

Obviously authentic delftware has to be entirely painted by hand, just like the delftplate above. That is easier said then done as for a really detailled and fine painting you need talented and experienced delftpainters and there arent very much of them. Our delftserie ``de Wit`` falls into this category and is marked with two crossed pencils and the painters initials at the back. Painting a portrait is often much more difficult as painting a building. On the other hand many of the decorative floral or landscape patterns are used so often that they have become a routine for the most painters . The painting is applied directly on the bisque, ( the clay or greenware that has alredy been fired) before the glazing takes place. That is why speak of underglaze paint and underglaze decorating.

2. Printing the image using a silk screen

Above picture clearly shows that the builing has been printed. In this case directly on the bisque by using a silk screen. More details or shades can still be add by hand with a pencil as it is still without glaze. Only when the whole decorating is done, the glazing takes place by either spraying the glaze or submerging the item in a bath of liquid glaze. Then the second firing can begin.

3. Printing using a special paper with coating

When using ceramic decalls, the design (above the F-35 JSF) is first printed onto special paper with a coating that allowes the design to glide off from the paper on to the ceramic object. This only works if the object has been glazed already (and thus after second firing) and needs to be fired for a third time in order for the decall to merge with the glaze. That is why we call this onglaze decorating using unplaze paint.

Do you wish to see the production process with your own eyes?

You can visit us at the factory any time, and if there is a special part of the process you wish to witness, please contact us.