Here are some bowls I've been working on today that may illustrate the different decorating materials I use. I first map out the design roughly with food colouring. Next I have painted in some slips. If I use slips I put them on before I sgraffito because they are opaque.
Once the slips are on I can do the sgraffito. In the first picture I think you may just see a corner of a natural history book I am working from. (Fairly freely I must admit so that the fish don't look too rigid).
After I've finished the sgraffito I add another lawyer by applying oxides. (I usually grind these to get them very smooth). Finally I insert little details with the slips!! All in all quite a time consuming process. Here is a finished bowl that came out of the firing on Saturday morning.
This is an old bowl I did some time ago but I was looking around for something I had painted with oxides. The oxides are enjoyable to use and I wash them on in a similar way to using watercolours. I also supplement them with a few underglaze colours. I wash these on after I have done the sgraffito because they are transparent colours. I do this at the leather hard stage which means that mistakes cannot be corrected but on the plus side they get fired on so they do not move when the pot is immersed in the glaze.
One of my students did some of her work using this technique but unlike me she deliberately went out side the lines and it had the effect of making her work look very fresh and spontaneous.
Andrew Gladwell was asking if I have any fairs booked in before Christmas. Unfortunately NO!! I knew that I was going to be spending time with the three boys this summer and thought that I may not have much stock. Of course now I am working away again the shelves are filling up with things to be fired. Even allowing for the slow nature of the work soon I will have more stock. People are very welcome to come and visit if they are near Redhill in Surrey!
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