Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


The purpose of this study was to explore the effects of metallic oxides and the process of wax resist in ceramic decoration; and the relationship of space and mass in sculpture. / The clay used for the ceramic problems was a stoneware body, except for the clay sculpture which was cast form a low fire slip. Metallic oxides were applied as stains during the green ware stage. Following the bisque firing, the ceramic pieces were glazed with a mixture of Horton’s and Matt # 3 glazes. / The use of wax resist, as a ceramic decoration, produced some very interesting results; many of which resemble those achieved in the field of graphics. To achieve these results, the design was first painted onto the clay with liquid wax. When the wax had set up, attain was applied to the entire outside surface. In the case of the vase pictured at the back of this abstract, a second application of wax was applied, covering both the first coat of wax and stain. Through this second application of wax, added design was incised into the clay and stained with another color. During the bisque firing the wax was burned out, preparing the piece for glazing. The possibilities of this method of decoration are by no means limited, and the freedom which the technique demands makes wax resist all the more fascinating. / The woods chosen for the wood sculpture are walnut and Osage orange (hedge). These were chosen for their hardness and active grain. On the walnut forms, spackle was applied to the entire surface as a filler. After sanding, a fruit wood stain was used to retain the natural color of the walnut wood. The final finish applied to all the wood sculpture was a mixture of bees wax and turpentine. / The form “Granted Petition” was the first of the wood pieces to be completed. The center of this particular piece of material was rotten and partially hollowed out; consequently, to achieve a satisfactory form, the lement of space was given a prominent role. The use of space and its relationship to mass in this form, gave new insight into the expressive quality of space. It took on not only definite shape and content, but made the form more a part of earth and light and expressive of life. Space was treated as being integral and equally as important as line, color, form and texture. / The writer in no way claims to have exhausted the possibilities of wax resist, but does feel that he has found the most gratifying technique of ceramic decoration for expressing himself in that material. With a greater use of space in sculpture, there was has been experienced a deeper appreciation for the element’s sculptural quality, and its potentiality for the expression of content.


Committee Chair

Date of Award

Summer 1960

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


© 1960 Paul A. Friesen


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