Everything you need to know about the dry rope ceramic technique

Everything you need to know about the dry rope ceramic technique

The Dry Rope technique comes from Spain, dates from the tenth century and appears by Moorish influence, when the Arabs used animal fat and mineral pigments such as iron or manganese to make drawings on ceramic pieces.

As a result it offers a decoration with defined strokes and different colors, which almost seem to be in relief on the piece. Although it is a visual effect, since glazes melt completely.

It is believed that this procedure, was already used in Susa, Iran in the first centuries of Islam, but was very little used in the East. It was known in the West since the time of the Umayyad caliphate of Cordoba and developed in al-Andalusia from the second half of the tenth century. It is also believed that this technique was spread to the Maghreb from the late eleventh or early twelfth century.

How is the Dry Rope technique achieved?

In order to achieve this technique, a linear drawing on the biscuit piece is applied first. This drawing can be transferred with tracing paper or made by hand, with pencil.

Next it is reviewed with the mixture of manganese dioxide and fat (for example, turpentine diluted with turpentine or honey fat). It is important to make this mixture well, and dissolve it with a spatula since its adherence and the intensity of the color will depend on it.

  • A small amount should be made, because the mixture evaporates easily. It is preferable to do only what is going to be used in the same job.
  • The design could also be transferred by screen printing on the piece, using a mixture of manganese and oil as a vehicle.

The mixture of manganese and oil creates resistance between the enamels, in such a way that prevents them from mixing, as if we put a partition between each enameled area.
It is recommended to apply the enamels with a pear-type dispenser, although a brush can also be used. It is cooked at low temperature.

As a result of this process, the oil will burn and the manganese will create a dark line on the clay. The effect will resemble a crystal or cloisonne effect.

Other techniques that will be useful to you

Although the options that we offer below are not properly dry rope, if they are useful techniques to prevent colors from mixing, creating small spaces of color and even textures.

  1. Reservations with wax.

    The wax repels the enamel so you can draw fine lines with wax and then apply color in the defined areas. When the wax burns, a black line appears. If a very flowing enamel is used, there is no problem if it covers the black line since the wax will burn before the enamel begins to flow.
  2. Using slips

    The main component of the slip is clay, so with them we can draw rigid and slightly raised lines, which separate several zones from each other.
  3. Using the clay itself

    Similar to the second technique, in this case the option is to create small and thin partitions that separate the areas with different color, directly with the clay, which will be glazed transparent or a color that matches the design of the piece.



In Ceramics Los Venerables we offer ceramic pieces with traditional designs and other novelties that reflect the influence of the Dry Cord technique in contemporary art.
Do not hesitate to tell us through our website http://www.sevilleart.com/en/and we will be happy to assist you.