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.
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.