Sunday, September 14, 2008

Decorating With Clay Sprigs

I embellish a lot in my work with clay sprigs. I learned the technique in a workshop with Matthew Metz at Santa Fe Clay. It is an easy way to make duplicates of a small object. I made most of my sprig molds by pushing objects such as buttons into blocks of wet clay. After pulling the object out, I let the clay dry completely. Then I bisque fire the sprig molds.

Once you have a mold the rest is pretty simple. I roll a small ball of moist clay. Drop it into the mold. Push the clay into the mold. Scrape and excess clay off with a metal rib. The moisture of the clay is drawn out by the bisque, so poppping the clay back out is easy. Just touch the back side with another ball of clay and pull it out. Then score the back of your sprig and the area of the pot you are going to apply it to. Then join the two together with slip or vinegar. I prefer vineger—less mess.

Here is the center of a large platter. I am using 3 different sprigs to build up a pattern.

Now the sprig pattern is complete and I have started carving.

I'm almost done. Now I need to texturize the area between the sprigs and carving and add other final touches.

Here is the completed platter. It took over 3-1/2 hours to complete the decoration. I'll dry it slowly under plastic. When I spend this much time on a piece I tend to baby it.

I will post the final glazed platter (barring disaster) in about 2 weeks.


Patricia Griffin said...

Looking forward to seeing the finished piece! How big is this platter?

Pigeon Road Pottery said...

Hi Patricia,
The platter is 14 inches wide. I just unloaded it from the kiln on monday night. I was happy with the results and I will be posting a photo soon. Thanks for your interest! Amy