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Redware Clays used in redware are mainly from shale deposits. Firing at about 1400 degrees Fahrenheit, it is relatively soft and porous and red-brown in color. The color of the redware darkened with increased temperature to brown or even black. Early redware production was centered in the German settlements of Pennsylvania. The potters and their craft quickly spread. Lead glazes were used to coat the redware pieces. Many potters, especially those in Pennsylvania decorated their wares with colored glazes by adding the salts of manganese, iron, or copper. In addition to colored glazes, potters also decorated by incising designs into the wet clay before drying. Rings, dots and wavy lines were incised while the piece was still on the potter’s wheel. Fluting and crimped edges were also used for decoration. The Pennsylvania German potters were known for the elaborate technique of sgraffito where designs were incised through a coat of slip. These pieces were meant to be decorative and were considered to be the potter’s finest work. Motifs included tulips, lilies, roses, hearts, birds, people and inscriptions. Another method of decoration used white or cream clay, and sometimes green, to trace or trail designs on the piece. The simplest form of this slip decorating consisted of lines, dots and sometimes words. Eastern Pennsylvania and the Moravian settlements of North Carolina produced elaborate slip decorations of birds, flowers and figures in a variety of colors. Variations and combinations of slip decorating and sgraffito became very popular.





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