Considerations and Logistics: Carving

Posted by on Apr 13, 2011 in Carving, Creamer and Sugar Set, How-to, Peaceful Meadow, Teapot, Tools | 4 comments

Teapot and Creamer in Meadow

In this series of blog entries, I am sharing some of the discoveries I am making as I try to add texture to my pots.

Carving is one of the techniques I have been using recently.  When I began carving on the pots, I quickly recognized that no choice is made in a vacuum – other factors must be considered.

Technical – Again, this has been the easiest of the logistics to resolve.  It includes carving at the appropriate point of dryness – too dry and the carving chips; too wet and the pot is gouged.

Method – Factors that I want to control when carving are width and depth of the lines.  There are 2 tools I have been using – a wire loop sgrafitto tool and a linoleum cutter.  I like the sgrafitto tool because I can make the lines quickly but they tend to be subtle and shallow.  The lino cutter is nice because it has multiple tips which make various width lines that are clean and bold.  I need to work a lot more with both of these because I haven’t achieved the application I want.  Also, I found it is easier to make curvy lines with slip rather than carving them.

Detail of teapot




Glaze response – Understanding the properties each glaze exhibits has been key (this is a prevalent truth).  Some of the glazes don’t break, are too pale, or are too thick.  The best glazes for shallow carving break with contrast and don’t run too much.  However, if the carved line is wide, it allows two glazes to interact with one another and introduce a third color which can highlight the carved pattern.

Design – All that the factors I identified with slip application are true for carving: what patterns to carve, how to relate the patterns to the rest of the pot, and how to designate a space on the pot for carving patterns.  In addition, I noticed that some of the carved patterns feel flat so I have begun to combine slip and carving.


  1. Hey!

    Love the carving and slip work. It’s an area that I really want to explore… glad you’re going first… your adoring students always seem to benefit 🙂

    On the teapot or the s&c… did you rub the glaze off the slip dots or did the glaze do that on its own? Love the way it looks… they are delicate… and to my eye they have a bit of an oriental flair.

    • I hope you join me on this textural journey – it would be fun. This glaze pools and breaks so I dipped the pot and that is it. I did not wipe any glaze off. The carving is a bit too shallow. Deeper lines would have been more pronounced. Thanks for asking.

  2. Great texture and carving technique. The linoleum cutter works fine for me. I wonder if there’s any other interesting tools that are good and effective other than this. I’m just a novice, im still exploring new techniques and good tutorials. Thank you for this information.

    • Thank you so much for asking. Texturizing pots is a lot of fun and will only be limited by your hesitancy to ‘mess up’ a pot. So my advice is to make LOTS of pots so you can fearlessly try new textures. Some of the best tools aren’t sold in craft stores. I have used: sneaker soles, my grandmother’s prizzelle maker, waffle iron, bolts, garlic press, shells, leaves, coral, bark, keys, etc. Look around and be bold! Please send me pictures – I would love to see what you come up with!

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