Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Surface Design Workshop

Last weekend I led a workshop at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts investigating surface design on pottery.  The course was developed by Linda Arbuckle to allow students to explore, through creating multiples, personal content through surface decisions.  We started off with color collage, used a viewfinder to hone in on composition and color proportion and then we translated that information to a series of paper plates.
paper plate compositions
We used single color decal sheets from Chinese Clay Art and cut them up to create shapes and imagery on commercial china plates.

The class was part of Arrowmont's Master Weekend Workshops, which allowed students to explore questions beyond a beginner level.  It was a great fall weekend for the surface class.  Students worked very hard and developed wonderful designs.  Many left with more questions than answers--a good thing to fuel studio research for months to come.
class photo on a perfect fall day
visitor outside clay studio
recognize any of these forms?
Chris was the lucky winner of a Linda Arbuckle dish!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

A little starch goes a long way

Ever need to transport pieces that have been glazed and not fired? This happened to me recently, as I needed to get a stray jar home from Montana.  I was a bit worried that the glaze would rub off during the 3 day drive back to Kansas City. Spray Starch was suggested to me by fellow ceramic artist, Chanda Glendinning--and guess what!? It worked! Flawless finish.
Just spray the glazed unfired surface with starch, let it dry, wrap the piece with soft material, pack it well and get it to a kiln.
Better late than never! Thanks for the tip, Chanda!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

How-to: Custom Texture Mats

Anyone who has been to one of my workshops knows how much love I have for craft foam.   Not only is it available in bright colors, but you can purchase it with an adhesive backing that works great for making quick custom texture mats for clay.  Here, I'll show you how to quickly make your own texture mat using craft foam and scissors.

Purchase craft foam with an adhesive back.  It is available at many hobby and craft stores, as well as discount stores. 
Cut shapes out of one of the sheets of the peel and stick foam
Create a custom design by placing your cut-outs onto another sheet of craft foam.  Here I have used two levels of peel and stick foam (white and yellow) and attached them to regular craft foam (red).

Place the texture mat face down on a slab and use your rolling pin to transfer the relief pattern.

The craft foam won't stick to the clay and your design imprints perfectly!

The craft foam texture mats can be reused countless times.  Play around with positive and negative imprints by cutting away and adding to the texture mats.  Different thicknesses of the craft foam will yield different depths of texture.  So many possibilities!