Thursday, March 6, 2008

Lesson in Sgrafitto


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

SOLUTION:
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.

3 comments:

Deb said...

I love the little bikes!

angelber704 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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