This summer I bought the coolest little carving tools in Port Townsend. Do you think I can find the “special place” I put them, so I wouldn’t loose them….NO I can’t! The best part was that these mini Ribbon tools were under $5 bucks. I’ve Googled them and can get another set, but the shipping alone is twice as much as I paid for my misplaced set. So while I added them to my on-line shopping cart I couldn’t bring myself to enter my credit card number and hit send. Oh well. I’ve decided we’ll fly to WA and visit the folks again and buy another set -much more fun. There were other tools I was able to use for some scraffito work this week and now the studio is covered in sgraffito poop.
I had a lot of fun deciding to apply some of my favorite Raven designs on some slab rolled trays I made. And YES, a few customers had asked for them but that doesn’t mean I didn’t have FUN making them. The black underglaze I used was some vintage Amaco Velvet Black I bought last year with a "lot" of ceramic goodies off of Cr@igs List. I’ve used it once before with good results but remembered I did have to apply at least 3 coats for a true black finish, otherwise it’s a bit washed out and doesn't hold the contrast I like. I'm also going to use a matte clear glaze for the finish so the trays are not too shiny and will have a lovely, velvety feel.
The Raven designs I used were from my collection of original drawings and graphic art files I draw up as reference for steel patterns and other illustration projects. I used to do a lot of scratchboard work for publication illustration and find that the scgraffito work on clay is very similar. There are many on-line examples as well as instructional information on sgraffito work. Here is a link to Ceramic Arts Daily articles and examples on sgraffito, scratching the surface and surface decorating. I enjoy the different styles of sgraffito by Blog artists Jeff Martin, Shoshona Snow and Cindy Buehler. For my clay pieces, I placed my paper drawings on on top of the leather hard clay trays and pencil traced the designs leaving slight impressions in the clay. This helped me
to place the design and paint only the area I was going to scratch away. I had better sgraffito results with the clay still a bit cool and damp. When the clay dried out it tended to chip or flake unpredictably. I also had to be careful not to drag the palm of my hand over the underglazed art and cover the black areas with slip dust residue. Fortunately, I didn’t have any casualties YET, but had to constantly remind my hands I was working in clay again and not steel! I had to lighten my grip, ease my carving and slow my pace. My hand and arm strength have been so geared to working in metal that it’s been a big shift jumping back to the earthly delight of pliable clay.
Stupid Human Trick
New snowfall last night brought the moose to the streets for easy Alder eating. This morning, I wanted to get a picture for the Blog of the pretty Cow Moose…while I was taking her picture (from a safe distance) I heard footsteps directly behind me. Thinking it was my neighbor also wanting to get a picture, I kept watching the Cow eating the Alders. HOWEVER it wasn’t my neighbor, it was the CALF of the Cow Moose snorting on my back! I slowly retreated to the stairs and came inside to download my photos AND change my sweatpants…