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2021 Revisiting Sgraffito Experiments

Just before the Christmas madness set in I had been experimenting with sgraffito techniques. Birds seem to keep recurring as a theme and this little partridge was an early trial. I have been using black underglaze on a porcelain white stoneware clay. I like the striking black and white contrast. I worked on small 'squares' of leather hard clay approximately 12cms square and used any tool to hand to scratch through the glaze layer. I found it tricky to get the level of 'dryness' just right. I like a crisp image and that meant that the clay had to be firm but too firm and the black underglaze cracked off leaving uneven edges. There is a lot of trail and error up ahead before I will be happy with the outcomes. I think that sgraffito may be my first 'go to' for 2021.

As well as trying out the sgraffito technique I am thinking of ways to present these small pieces. Building frames in clay and using slips to rub into bisque fired clay bring a distressed finish to the piece which I really like. Getting colours right is a challenge as firing can present all kinds of surprises. So.... as we head for a new year keep an eye on on my instagram where I will post progress and who knows what other distractions and new ideas will emerge!

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