Skip to main content
Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

Introduction to Ceramic Painting: Mastering the Majolica Technique
6-Session Evening Class

We'd also like to make sure you know about the
Studio Arts Blog
. Join the conversation, and
jump-start your creativity today.

Tues., July 9–Aug. 13, 6:30 to 9 p.m.
Code: 1K00AM

In the Italian Renaissance, a variety of surface treatments were employed by skilled artisans to embellish plates, vases, and objects adding splendor and elegance to the palaces and churches where they were used and displayed. These objects are the earliest examples of the famous majolica wares whose popularity spread throughout many cultures and centuries. Inspired by these historic art objects and techniques, students create one-of-a-kind ceramic pieces of their own.

Instructor Alfredo Ratinoff guides student through the process of decorating various bisque shapes with time-tested, easy-to-learn painting and glazing techniques. (Participants work on decorating fired- and glazed-clay pieces prepared outside of class.) He discusses a wide variety of techniques from traditional brush glazing to color application and methods of creating unique designs and glaze effects on ceramics. Traditional and nontraditional pattern design is covered.

Students begin working on a bisque plate and then select a vase or mug for continuing study. Each student completes 2 to 3 painted ceramic pieces during this class. The cost of clay pieces, glazes and firings are included in tuition. This is a beginning-level class; no experience with clay is necessary.

Ratinoff is a mosaic artist whose pieces are in many public and private art collections around the world.

6 sessions, 2 1/2 hours each



Supplies have been gathered for you by your instructor and are available to purchase in a kit assembled by Chesapeake Ceramics (

You may order your supply kit (containing a banding wheel and 10 brushes) either by phone or email, with Gina Francis at Chesapeake Ceramics, for $89.50 plus shipping (estimated to be about $7.00). Just let Gina know that you are a student in Alfredo Ratinoff’s upcoming ceramics class at the Smithsonian and she’ll know to send you the kit.

Phone: 410-247-1270, ext. 33



S. Dillon Ripley Center
Room 3040
1100 Jefferson Drive, S.W.
Metro: Smithsonian (Blue/Orange Lines)