This is year I am totally devoting myself to finding me in my art.

What that means exactly is that this is the year of experimentation, with color, shape, size and techniques.
When I go to shows or into galleries I can always tell the artist by their piece, they have a look, a feeling, maybe a specific  palette or they work with a specific technique and that is what I am aiming for.

I went to an Art Show a few weeks ago in Tulsa. This was a Fine Art show, not a craft fair, so the quality (and prices) of the pieces were high. I saw lots of pottery and fell in love with a pottery technique called Sgrafitto. When I saw it I shivered in delight and bought a piece, a coffee mug, from the artist, basically to say thank you for the inspiration!

Sgrafitto is carving through underglaze into the raw, leather hard clay.

sgrafitto mug
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sgrafitto mug
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Is this not the coolest mug? Artist Carolyn Bernard Young- Earth to Art

Its super cool and looks similar to woodcut work.

Because of my work with carving on Gourds this technique really spoke to me. I had seen it before but now seeing, and feeling it up close and personal, my art-fire was lighted and I just had to try it!

After drinking a cup of coffee  in my new mug, as well as drinking in her design, I raced out to my studio to try it myself.  I have to admit, it took me a while to screw up the courage.

The Universe apparently had a hand in all of this because I had just thrown a few tall cylinder type shapes, which I rarely do, and they were leather hard, exactly where they needed to be.

So I tried it. I painted 3 coats of Amaco Black Velvet undercoat, let the glaze dry, and then got a carving tool out and started to doodle.

And I had a ball!!! There was no rhyme or reason to my carvings, I just made marks to see what happened. I made lines, and dots, and swoops, I carved out big areas and left areas black. I did this on two pots. There were alot more pots in this leather hard state that I thought I could do it with but I seriously did not want to experiment on a whole kiln load!!

Sgrafitto Vase #1
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Sadly I did not take photos during this whole thing but here are some that I took of the freshly bisqued pots. At this stage they are not finished. The Color was applied to greenware (unfired clay) and fired at a low temperature. It now needs to be clear glazed and fired again to a higher temp.  Then it will be finished. The Glossy clear glaze should make the black pop and since the clay is a white porcelain the design should also pop.
Sgrafitto Vase #2
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I can’t wait to see the finished piece!

There was a lot of satisfaction for me to make these marks, just like when I do carving on my gourds. I love the organic look of it, that hand made, hand carved quality. Plus each one will be different, each piece will have its own art.

Luckily for me, when I bought out that pottery studio, my purchase came with a slew of Amaco Underglaze which worked perfect for this.  I used the black but I can see it with all sorts of colors and the brighter the better!!!

So what do you think? I would love to hear your opinion on this new technique.

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