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The hand decoration of a ceramic piece begins with the artist adding an outline of a design in pencil. Bronte’s specialist artists create their own palette of translucent colours by mixing various metal oxides with fat oil derived from turpentine, and aniseed oil. The fat oil ensures that the colours adhere to the ceramic surface while the aniseed oil prevents the colours from drying out too quickly; keeping the paint workable. It is the aniseed oil that creates the distinctive aroma of the painting studio. To achieve the desired depth and range of tones three or four applications of colour may be needed. The ceramic piece has to be fired at around 800 degrees Celsius after each application.

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