Part of being creative is staying curious—getting excited about exploring new techniques in different media. Hallmark’s on-site ceramics studio recently invited artists to try “sgraffito,” a pottery technique popularized in Italy where artists carve through glaze into soft clay underneath.
I was so excited to take this ceramic workshop and had a great time. I like woodland creatures and this is what I came up with.
I like to combine shapes that play off each other, mixing up patterns and placement. The sketch for this design was inspired by some leftover fall foliage in my back garden, bent by the elements but still holding memories of summer. Etching into the soft clay give the ceramics a very organic hand-made quality that I like—very tactile and natural.
Sgraffito is a technique where you scratch away a layer of glaze to create designs on a ceramic piece, and it’s something I’ve wanted to learn for a long time. The subtractive approach gives my line drawings a whole new look—it’s an earthier feel that I love!
I like the idea of layering, each layer independent of each other…and each layer working together with the surprise of the gray unfired clay going to white…and trying to figure out what that looks like as you’re carving, and hoping it all plays nicely when it’s fired! I love how the outside of the bowl turned out. I was really focused on the technique and seeing out it all played together. So the inside of the bowl is very different from the outside.
The final, kiln-fired pieces (pictured above) show the variety of results that came from exploring a single technique—from delicate to bold, whimsical to spooky, detailed to graphic.