Thursday, March 6, 2008

Lesson in Sgrafitto

: scratching through a layer of colored slip to the differently colored clay underneath
Mishima: cuts/scratches that are filled with colored slip

Between my unemployment depression, aching back, and overabundance of neglected recycled clay, I gave the elegant set a rest and made some whimsical mugs in the last week. I thought I'd try some sgrafitto, going for a fun, graphic look. Of course I hadn't touched sgrafitto since I'd learned about it two years ago; I knew I wasn't sure what I was doing, though I found out later how clueless I was when a classmate corrected me. It was actually Mishima I was trying to do, and not even correctly. Here's the step by step:

Exhibit A: Mug - lip rim dipped in porcelain slip, complete with handle, evenly dried to leather-hard

1. I scratched a design both on the solid stoneware and up to the porcelain rim.
2. Filled in design with ebony slip, not bothering to stay in the lines.
3. When slip dried, I scraped away the excess outside of the lines. This caused two problems:
a. made scratch marks on the groggy stoneware
b. scraped away some of the porcelain slip

1. First wax the area.
2. Scratch/carve the design through the wax.
3. Apply colored slip.

After bisque firing, the excess slip should flake off or be easily sanded to reveal the crisp mishima lines.
After the first unsuccessful mug, I gave up with any sort of carving and simply painted my little bicycles. By the time my classmate stopped by I had just a few mugs left, and I was enjoying my simple paintings... Perhaps another day I'll give mishima a second try.


Deb said...

I love the little bikes!

Anonymous said...

Erin its amber from ceramics! I was browsing the internet looking for ideas to give my high school classes.... and i found you page... first i was like i have seen those bikes before! then it said erin and wa la here you are! I hope your career is taking off and blossoming! Good luck!

Erin said...

Oh hey Amber! Perhaps you won't see this comment now, but if you do, hello! :) sorry I didn't even read this until now. The art is going pretty well. Will you be around for the exhibition openings on Nov 5th at the UNC art galleries?

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