Large Figures: Surface Decorating

Argh ... I'm in serious need of updating my current main work on my blog. I am so enjoying the making that my head is buzzing with ideas long after leaving the studio that I don't get down to writing them down.

Anyway, so recap to where I got last was having finished my two larger figures. One made from the general clay stacked at uni (AWS/1G: White Stoneware by Spencroft Clays) and the other from a whiter clay (PF 700G: Porcelain White Stoneware Grog by Valentine Clays). I have stuck to a similar shape without out wanting them to be too similar. I am planning on making a third one in the series in yet another clay, maybe a black clay.

Starting off my decorating process by pouring black slip over parts of the figures. However, as the drips seemed a bit to deliberate and their flow difficult to control I started blowing air onto them. Besides leaving me quite light headed it added an interesting new surface quality to these slipped area. Not sure whether these will be noticeable at the end or not. We'll see.

Too much blowing can result in them looking too much like the glaze decoration on mocha ware. I don't like that. Also, I noticed that really need to sieve the slip to avoid having little unwanted lumps.

Next I used sgraffito to add some lines and circular patterns. I do this directly in response to the overall shape of the piece and the slip decoration. This step is kept fairly intuitive to avoid too much control.

I also want to add some more texture and decorative detail by using shellac resist. This enables me to wash out areas that aren't covered by the layer of shellac.

With a grogged clay body I get a contrast between the protected smooth top surface and the rougher washed out areas where the grog of the clay body gets exposed.

Additionally, this lets me remove the layer of black slip and exposing the clay colour below.

Now the two pieces are ready for drying out before going into the kiln for bisque firing. Let's hope they survive this without any cracks or so. Keep fingers crossed!

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