Gary Jackson: Fire When Ready Pottery
A Chicago potter’s somewhat slanted view of clay & play
Categories: patterns, porcelain, process

So after accepting the “thrownback THROWDOWN challenge” from Taylore…
and throwing my platter with a layer of black slip, it was time to start the sgraffito decoration process. Now let me just say from the git-go, that I am NOT a proficient sgraffito-ist. In fact this might be my very first intentional sgraffito project… something more than just some¬† cut-line leaf patterns. I had to do a bit more planning on this one to determine my pattern, with textures and contrasts before even starting. When I finally had a plan in my head, I could begin the process. And here we go…

I started with a pointed oval cut-out pattern and a needle tool.
A little light tracing to get me started before I put the first cut in.

It’s hard to turn back once that first cut is in place!

The second cut?… not so bad..

Loving my new carving tools from DiamondCore Tools.
Great quality blades giving me nice smooth lines! They glide right through the clay!

I must admit that once you get going it gets kind of addictive! A little here. A little there.
Some texture here… some “shaded” areas with half of the slip carved away.
I like the color variation and the texture working together.

After awhile my pattern started to come together.
Kind of an organic leaf pattern with a bit of a stylized Art Deco twist.

So lucky to have this great collection of carving tools. Each blade is a different shape for a different cut mark. Each of them extra sharp thanks to DiamondCore Tools. The sharper the blade, the smoother the cut. So fun to finally put them to a real use… as they were probably intended!!!

But I will admit that it was tough to use them all… as I have definitely found my favorite!!!
It’s the V-tip Pencil Carverthe yellow one! I love the sharp beveled edge V-cut it makes into the clay. A bit of width to the cut with a crisp bottom line inside.

Part way through I switched to the Square-tip Relief Carver to do a little relief carving apparently, who knew?... but more to just take out wider areas of the black slip. Trying to create a cleaner white area with a bit of a deeper, smoother cut. And some extra color contrast happening on my platter.

After awhile feverishly working away in the studio, I ended up with this… for now.
And I’m pretty darn pleased with myself. Not bad for a first attempt…
might be onto something here?!

Although I’m still not 100% confident that I’m done carving?!
I think one of the hardest parts to this is actually knowing when to call it done.
You could carve away forever… and end up with a plain white plate!!!

So we’ll see… the “Sgraffito Surprise Challenge” continues tonight in my LILLSTREET THROWDOWN class. Each of my students should be bringing in their complete platters too. I can’t wait to see them all done. I’ve seen a few along the way, a few sneak peeks here & there, but I can’t wait to see them all. Until then, I think I might have an hour or so before class to consider adding a bit more… because you know my theory… More Is More!

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1 Comment

sherri

March 1st, 2018

Very nice, Gary!!

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