The difference between Faience
por Walter Del Pellegrino
The difference between faience and majolica can be confusing. Faience
ware is less expensive and easier to produce. It is, by far, the
most common process used. If it were majolica it most likely would
have a maker's logo or name on it.
The two terms are not interchangeable as is commonly believed.
Many people are under the impression that the word majolica refers
to a particular series of designs but it should be applied to the
process used by the ceramicist to make his product.
Faience is a French word for the town of Faenza in Italy where
the process was first made popular in Europe. It is a clay coated
and decorated with an enamel tin oxide glaze and fired once in the
kiln at a temperature range between 800-1000 degrees Celsius
Majolica is first fired as unglazed refined clay at 750 degrees.
When it has cooled (it is known as bisque at this point) it is dipped
into a bath of fast drying liquid glaze. The glaze will be either
“Primo Bianco” (White Primer) or “Smalto”
(enamel). The chemicals that make up of these glazes vary from studio
to studio and are closely guarded secrets.
The artist can then begin creating a masterpiece of decoration using
glazes that will adhere to the primer glaze. A second firing is
required at 750 degrees for about 12 hours with another 12 hours
required to allow the oven to cool off slowly.