ceramic cold finishing

Shawna Barnes on Ceramics Cold Finishing

Shawna Barnes is a good friend of HandbuildersMonthly.com. She is developing a quick course on cold finishing ceramic work. Cold finishing is, simply, applying color and surface treatments after work has been completely fired. You don’t rely on glaze to create your surfaces. You work with paints, powders, varnishes, and printing, to name a few. Some artists use makeup for cold finishing. Others use metallic treatments or even vegetable dies.

There is almost no limit to the ways you can use cold finishing ideas in your pottery designs. None of the cold finishing treatments can be fired, and that’s why artists like them. Cold finishing processes are often quicker and more forgiving than fired surfaces. Shawna told us she is in the experimental stages and really enjoying her journey through cold finishing on ceramic work.

For those who don’t know her work and her story, Shawna describes herself as a wife, mother, teaching artist, ceramic sculptor, and arts accessibility educator. She was formerly a combat medic in the U.S. Army and currently assists others in finding solutions for challenges related to combat injuries.

cold finishingShawna says, in her website profile, that after her discharge from the military in 2011, she found clay work to be terrific therapy. “With my hands in clay, bringing my imagination to life in 3D, nothing else matters; not the pain, the emotional turmoil, the frustration—none of it. It all goes away, and I am at peace,” she wrote.  “Once I realized just HOW therapeutic and cathartic the simple act of creating can be, I have made sharing this revelation a large part of my artistic practice.”

Shawna volunteers as a leader and teacher in an art tile class at the Travis Mills Foundation – where severely wounded Veterans and their families enjoy a week of pampering without worrying about accessibility.  She’s a huge proponent of overcoming adversity via the simple act of creating.

You can follow her progress with the cold finishing course online at her site. She has tons of great ideas for using various media in cold finishing, and great suggestions for how to apply those ideas.

If you’ve done some cold finishing, please let us know in the comments.

You can connect with Shawna at Facebook.  HandbuildersMonthly subscribers can read more about her in our story on Shawna’s ceramic jewelry processes.

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  1. Rick Thomas says:

    Ceramics Cold Finishing sounds very interesting and is exactly what I would like to try so I can personalise pottery for gifts.
    I have many questions especially how long would the artwork stay on a mug if washed and food safety ?

    • admin says:

      Hi and thanks for coming by! The durability depends on the finish you use. I would not consider these finishes food safe, microwave safe, or dishwasher safe in general. Better safe than sorry.

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