Black Luster Plate
Painted with Butterflies
This Plate was my first attempt at doing a piece where the whole painting was done in lusters.
To begin with, the butterfiles were outlined, using a Stabilo pen. This type of pen fires off in the kiln, so it is good to use for drawing your design on the china. A "Sharpie" pen will work as well. The luster was then applied to each of the three butterflies. I used Hanovia Rose luster and Engelhard Mother of Pearl on the large butterfly. Hanovia Blue Luster was painted on the side-facing butterfly. This comes out as a very dark blue, almost like a midnight blue. The other butterfly was painted with Hanovia Rose and Hanovia Green luster. The Butterfly bodies were painted with Hanovia Sapphire. Then the plate was fired at cone 18. This is the cone temperature recommended by Michael Sullivan, my luster teacher in California. Most of what I know about lusters, I learned from Michael..
For the second fire, resist was applied over the butterflies and then Black Luster was painted all over the unmasked area of the plate. Before it dried, the Black Luster was pounced. You have to work very fast when pouncing luster, as it dries pretty quickly. After the Black was dry, the resist was peeled off and a little more color was added to the butterflies. The plate was again fired at cone 18. When it came out of the fire, the Black Luster had not covered well enough, so I resisted the butterflies again and applied another coat of Hanovia Black and pounced it again. It was fired again at cone 18. On the final fire, I used Liquid Bright Gold to outline the details of the butterflies. I found the Black kind of hard to work with, as it is kind of hard to see what you are doing. I am satisfied with this plate though, especially since it was my first serious attempt at working with lusters.