A cuerda seca Christmas from Payne Creations

Welcome to my blog!  My name is Carolyn Payne and I create hand painted ceramic tile art and murals.  For the past 28 years, I’ve owned and operated Payne Creations in Kansas City, Missouri, otherwise known as the Paris of the Plains.

Ceramic art has been around for thousands of years.  Ancient Chinese, Greek, and Mayan are just some of the cultures that utilized ceramic art.  Ceramic art has been a foundation of human development and civilization, and was a way for many cultures to represent religion and history.  The story of ceramic art is quite exciting and I’m proud to be part of its legacy.

In terms of my own projects, I like to work in the cuerda seca method of a wax/oil line and raised glazes.  You may be wondering, what is the cuerda seca method?

Well, “cuerda seca” roughly means dry cord (or string).  It has evolved over the centuries, with many cultures and ceramists adopting it for their unique visions and application.  Some say the method first appeared in Iran and spread into Turkey.  Others say the method originated in 15th-century Spain.  The cuerda seca method has had a fascinating journey, to say the least!  Throughout history, ceramists were always looking for ways to separate colors and in their experiments and cross-cultural journeys, “cuerda seca” came to be.  The story of the cuerda seca method is an apt symbol for humans coming together, which is ironic if you think about it.  The actual process maintains color separation by utilizing thin pieces of wax resist between glazes.  After the firing, the dry cords (hence the name) of unglazed tile are left behind, thus the colors remain separated.  It’s a fascinating process, for sure, and one that is always evolving.

In the spirit of the story of the cuerda seca method, I would like to wish you all a very cuerda seca Christmas (or whatever other holiday you may be celebrating)!

Carolyn Payne

*first image courtesy of Petr Kratochvil