Octos Emerge from Kiln & Sgraffito

Various octopi have emerged from the kiln and are starting to get color and personality. I’m experimenting with several different glazing techniques and combinations.

This piece above is just plain clay carving, then bisque and “wipe away” the underglazes. Sort of a reverse-sgraffito. I’ll likely do a plain clear matte on the outside (so the tealish color stays soft) and a glossy teal on the inside of the cup.

The main techniques are “sgraffito” and “wipe-away.” Wipe-way is exactly what it sounds like, bisquing the piece, then applying underglaze and wiping it away so it stayed in the crevices and details, works best on pieces with lots of texture.  Sgraffito is working with underglazes and carving wet to leather-hard clay. You do a layer of underglaze color, and then carve color away leaving white clay underneath.

The dryness of the clay is super important to how the carving looks. The more wet the clay, the more smooth and deep the carving. The drier it is, the more superficial the carving, and it takes extra care to ensure soft, swooping lines. (I will do a posting on the specific tools and how to use them shortly–when I get the new ones in the mail.) The one above I carved in between wet and leather-hard. Also b/c it’s so dry in the room, it got drier as I was working on it.

This one below I did the carving when it was much wetter, so the carving is much deeper, more texture and less detail. It also dried quite quickly as I was carving. I used the same method of underglaze and wipe-away, but I left a little bit more on with this one. I am thinking of doing a light turquoise translucent gloss glaze over top, should contrast well with the rough black.

This one thing I just tried that I’m SUPER excited about I am hoping will give a tie-dye effect. I’ve been experimenting with multiple layers of the underglaze and carefully carving away leaving multiple swirls of color which, when I use circular carving motions look more like water.

This one below is with that technique- blue underneath, and black over top (it was featured in this post– so you can see the different stages). I’ll do a plain clear gloss to make the colors and contrasts pop.

[The clay looks grey when wet, but dries white.]

In this piece below, I did a gradation of three blue/turquoise colors beneath the black and scraped away, the gradation clearly showing through and contrasting the black. I also carved it at leather-hard so the lines are not as deep and I took extra care that they are smooth. It is currently in the kiln and I am thinking the colors will pop wildly when it gets a coat of clear glaze.

Be sure to stay tuned for the results!

Octo tie-dye water at leather-hard stage.

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8 responses to “Octos Emerge from Kiln & Sgraffito

  1. lol, nice! I hear you – I’m sure its no exactly “horrible” though 🙂 that’s a great idea to have one inside so you can see it when you are eating. I have a few bowls with the image on the inside.

  2. You are multitalented and endlessly creative, Emabee. I remember trying pottery and sculpture in school and it not going so well. Do you sell your works?

  3. Pingback: Sgraffito Tools and Techniques | EmaBee's Art·

  4. Pingback: EmaBee Inspiration: My Octopus Muse | EmaBee's Art·

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