Make Ceramic Voodoo Work for You

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Blackbird platter, Lisa Rogers

Ceramics is full of success, failure and experimentation. After retiring from teaching ceramics in Colorado for 25 years I became a maker instead of a teacher. I began reviewing what processes I wanted to explore in more depth. I have always been interested in image transfer, using a variety of processes.

I began using the CerPrint Black printer and abandoned silk-screening images for the surface of my work. Buying decals can be expensive. That’s why CerPrint is a welcome and affordable addition to my studio.

Because I glaze fire in a gas kiln in reduction, I had to experiment with which temperatures work for glaze being taken to higher temperatures. I was hesitant to spend more money for an alternate method of getting black, but I have found the CerPrint process is much easier to manage. The results are consistent—which is not the case when I use silk-screening, image transfer or other methods.

My process after glaze firing: sepia tone to Cone 1 is firing CerPrint black decals to 1730 degrees Fahrenheit. I bisque to a lower temperature so I can combine black decal work with work that needs to be bisqued. I fire commercial and vintage decals to 1465 F. That way I can combine decals with lusters. The process I used for the bird platter was glaze fire, black decal fire, vintage decal fire and I fired the gold last. I lowered the temperature with each firing.

Hunt Bowl by Lisa Rogers
Hunt Bowl by Lisa Rogers, layered firings with CerPrint Black at 1730F.

There are a lot of variables to outcomes when firing. What works for one person, may not work for another. Placement in kiln, stacking of kiln, minerals in water, how long you wait to fire your decals after application, how long and when you vent your kiln. The sample firing schedule included in the CerPrint instructions is a good place to begin.

Everyone has their own personal voodoo—a process that works for them. The key is to run test tiles and try different temps and methods. See what your own personal voodoo is. There are always surprises!

About the Author
Lisa Rogers’s Boulder, CO studio is closed to the public for now. When COVID-19 is under control she plans to re-open her studio for visits and sales. Until then, you can shop and purchase online at ( She enjoys entering shows. Her students still stop by the studio–a handful of whom are making a living with ceramics. “I really loved teaching. My students would try anything and work weekends, nights. It was really fun,” she says.