Engobes are rich earth colors and subdued tones made from natural clays - or a mixture of clays and other ceramic raw materials - that can be applied using various methods. Engobes may be brushed, poured or trailed thinly on wet or dry greenware. Sometimes, they're used to cover an inferior body, but are generally applied as decoration, particularly by slip painting, slip trailing and sgraffito. For best results when slip painting, use short, direct strokes of a heavily-loaded brush to create compressed designs; use slip trailing for more elaborate designs. (Engobes work well with AMACO's Slip Trailer, designed to produce thin and thick line designs.) When the sgraffito process is used, designs are scratched into a layer of engobe so the color of the clay shows through.
SAFETY WARNING: Finished ware should be tested to establish food-safe status, due to possible variations in firing temperature and contamination.