- present participle of burnish
Burnishing is a form of pottery
decoration in which the
surface of the pot is polished, using a hard smooth surface such as
a wooden or bone spatula, smooth stones, or even glass bulbs, while
it still is in a leathery 'green' state, i.e. before firing. After
firing, the surface is extremely shiny. Often the whole outer
surface of the pot is thus decorated, but in certain ceramic
traditions there is
'pattern burnishing' where the outside and, in the case of open
bowls, the inside, are decorated with burnished patterns in which
some areas are left matte.
This technique can be applied to concrete masonry
units as well, creating a rich, stately appearance that one often
can find inside educational
financial institutions and even sporting venues
such as Lambeau
. This finish works for exterior use as well, the smooth
face lending itself to a stunning mix of textures when combined
with rougher, splitface block.
Burnishing can also be applied to wood. Hard
woods are best to use with this. Rub them along one another, the
more important one should be rubbed down its grain, but crossways
will still work, and shortly a glossy sheen will come up and the
wood will become slick. Burnishing does not protect the wood like a
varnish does, but you do not have to wait for a burnished piece of
wood to dry as you would if you had varnished it.
If one wood has a dye in it, or is colored in
some way, it may rub off onto the other wood, so choose carefully
and perform a test rub first.