Background of Mocha “Trees”
In his book Mocha and related dipped wares, 1770-1939, Jonathan Rickard states, “The most recognizable type of mocha decoration is the tree.” The tree-like pattern results from a dynamic process in which the contact line between two liquids, the acidic dark brown coloring, and the alkaline slip becomes unstable. The acid or base chemical reaction drives the instability. Rickard explains the process: Instead of leaving the pot on the lathe, the turner removed the pot and carefully held it bottom-up. Then he dipped his brush into the dark brown acidic concoction and touched the brush just outside the bottom edge of the broadest slip band. After that, the brown coloring ran quickly downwards while spreading its branches.
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