My work is primarily wheel-thrown and altered, then decorated using an indirect screenprinting method. This page provides pictures, videos, and explanations of some of my techniques.
Many of my forms start off as a blank bottomless cylinder thrown on the wheel. Because there is not a bottom, the cylinder can be easily altered into an oval.
Darting the Forms
I add more shape to the body of the cylinder by darting, or removing sections of the wall and pushing the form together until the edges meet. In this case, it provides areas for the handle on the creamer and for the spoon for the sugar jar.
Cutting the Feet
I remove sections at the bottom of the cylinders to create movement and lift for the feet.
Adding the Slabs
I then attach slabs to the feet and another to the top of the sugar jar, which will become the lid.
Adding the Spout
I cut a rounded triangle form from a slab and wrap it around the creamer to create a beak spout. A section of the wall is removed and the slab is attached. I also cut the top edge of the creamer to give it movement.
Cutting the Lid
When the attached slabs have stiffened slightly, I begin to round their edges with a sponge. I also cut the line for the lid of the sugar jar along the wall of the pot. A thin slab is attached along the inside wall of the jar to create a flange for the lid.
A handle for the creamer is created by rolling a coil, letting it stiffen up and carving it, then attaching it to the pot while working small coils around the attachment points.
High temperature nichrome wire is added to the sugar jar as a knob and spoon holder.
A spoon is created using a small slab and handle. It rests in the nichrome wire loops attached to the sugar jar.
Here are three sugar and creamer sets in my small Skutt 609. It's a great little kiln for quick turn around times.
The pieces are removed from the bisque and prepped for glazing by sanding and washing. The imagery is then transferred to the bisqueware. See videos below for image transfer technique.
Translucent glazes are placed over the imagery. Excess glaze is wiped away and the glaze then receives a layer of wax resist. This allows the piece to be dipped in an accent glaze, usually black.
Sugar and Creamer
My work is fired to cone 6 in an electric kiln.
SCREENPRINTING ON CLAY
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Prepping the Screen
Screen-printing, or silk-screening, is a stencil method of printing a flat color design through a piece of silk or other fine cloth on which all parts of the design not to be printed have been stopped out by an impermeable film, in this case a light sensitive photo emulsion (seen here applying to the screen).
Exposing the Screen
When the emulsion is dry the screen can be exposed to light to burn in the images. Positives are used to keep the light from reaching parts of the screen. Once the screen has been shot, it can be removed from the light table and taken to be washed. When the screen is washed, all of the emulsion that was not exposed to light will wash out, leaving the original image open in the screen.
Direct printing means that the medium used to print is being pushed through the screen directly onto the clay. The advantage of printing this way is that the image is often very clear and sharp.
The disadvantage is that you most often have to print on a flat piece of clay.
Forming the Slab
The printed slab then can be used to build. In this case it is draped over a hump mold.
The slab is allowed to stiffen and is removed from the mold when it is leather hard.
Indirect printing, or transfer printing, means that the image is printed first onto another surface and then transferred onto the clay. This can allow for the image to be applied to an already formed surface that may not be flat.
Applying the Transfer
The image has been printed onto tissue paper. When transferring to greenware, the image is immediately turned over onto the piece after printing and gently rubbed. The paper is then peeled away, leaving the image behind. This may also be done with bisqueware. The imagery is allowed to dry on the paper and is turned over and sprayed with water and sponged into the bisque.
Indirect printing is a great way of printing onto an already formed surface that is not flat, but most often, the image does not transfer perfectly, but this may also create some interesting effects.