Trying a New Ceramics Tecnhique

I’m trying a new (to me) technique on this small stoneware owl.  When I was working on Milkweed Mansion, a crack developed at the top edge of the roof front where it connects to the widow’s walk.  Ordinarily, no problem.  But these two pieces were different clays, one firing black and the other firing buff.  Since I was not planning to glaze the pieces, I needed a clean division between the two clays.

But the crack was so big that I really didn’t have any choice but to fill it.  I filled it with a slip of the dark clay and, of course, in the process got quite aa bit of that slip on the buff clay.  When the slip dried, I found that I could easily scrape the dark slip from the buff clay with the edge of an x-acto knife blade.  But when I did so, the dark clay remained in the impressed spiral designs on the buff clay.  Hmmm.

So that suggested a way to make dark markings on a white snowy owl.  I sculpted this little one from a stoneware that fires white and impressed designs looking like feather tips where the owl has black markings.

I brushed dark clay slip over the areas where the impressions were.  Then, when the clay was (sort of) dry, I scraped away the dark slip, leaving the dark clay only in the incised designs.  I should have let the clay dry more, and will do so if I use this technique in the future.  With the clays still slightly wet I didn’t get the crisp divisions between the clay colors that I wanted.


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