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Painting/Printing on clay

I love jumping between and mixing mediums. I’ve recently been working in clay–after a long break.

greenware sgraffito pot
A ‘Greenware’ pot – carving done and ready for the kiln

I’ve been decorating with a technique, called sgraffito, where I scratch the design into the pottery before firing.

car filled with redware sgraffito bisque pottery
bisque fired pots-almost finished, just need glaze

Here’s what sgraffito pots look like after the first fire. I love the contrast between the red and white clays.

a screen for screenprinting
Screen for screenprinting-burned by the sun

As a printmaker, I have been curious about printing on pots. With the encouragement of a fellow artist/potter, I tried to print decals to apply to clay. After MUCH experimenting, I learned that relief printing does not give a thick enough layer of glaze, so I am taking my woodcuts and linocuts, and using them to make screens for screen printing

screenprinting in the studio
testing the design

My only experience with photo transfer screen printing was a few years ago, when I took a workshop in Oaxaca, MX with artist, Marcos Lucero. In the workshop, we used the sun to expose the screen. It’s still taking some trial and error, but I am learning how to get a good exposure. Kentucky sun is different from Mexico sun–we have clouds!!

test print of birds in branches
test print-a little bit overexposed

Once I master the screen print part of the process (i love learning new things) It’ll be time for a NEW thing to learn: how to print using glaze, and then transfer the designs to clay.

work in progress painted clay sculptures
Painted clay critters-work in progress

Of course , it’s also possible to PAINT on clay–as long as it isn’t being used for food. These critters are almost finished. I LOVE painting on clay. It reminds me of canvas painting, but the textures and shapes of clay give it a 3rd dimension

glazing pottery
pots being glazed for the final firing

remember those sgraffito pots at the beginning of this post? Last night, i glazed them, and they are in the kiln cooling. We are going to open the kiln this evening, so stay tuned it’ll be exciting to see my first batch of pots…of course, the first batch is usually when I learn a lot of lessons, so hopefully the kiln gods are not too cruel.