Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Fern Platter - Negative Space Slip Image

SRFG clay rolled with rolling pin
While pruning in the garden today, I noticed the ferns and thought one would look wonderful impressed in clay. I cut a fern leaf and brought it into the house and rolled out a slab of red stoneware clay, SRFG Cone 5, from Aardvark with my rolling pin. (I am still patiently waiting for my homemade slab roller. I will have to call my friend and see how it's coming along). I laid the fern on the slab of clay and tried rolling it into the clay. The stem showed up nicely, but the fern leaflets weren't showing up, their impression was too light to see.

fern leaf rolled into clay
I decided to try a different approach - using the fern outline as negative space. I rolled the fern leaf deeper into the clay with my rolling pin. Then I formed a platter shape with the clay by draping it over a mold. Next I'll coat the whole platter with a contrasting color of slip covering the whole platter including the fern.

applying slip to fern platterNow that I have coated the whole platter with slip, I've set it aside to dry. Once the slip dries, I will remove the fern and set the platter aside to dry. After the platter is dry I will bisque fire it and then I put a clear glaze over the platter and fire it again. I love the contrast of the green fern against the red clay.

fern platter covered with slip
While I am waiting for the slip to dry, I am wondering how I could maintain the color of the clay and glaze the fern green? Would I glaze the whole platter green, then lay the fern down and then glaze the whole platter again in a terra cotta color? Then when the fern burns out the bottom color of glaze will be the fern? Not sure if this will work, but want to try it.

Here is the platter with the fern removed. I think I like it. I had to rub off some of the slip that got under some of the leaves. I might have removed the fern a little too soon - couldn't wait to see what it looked like. I'd like to try more of this technique, perhaps on some pendants.

Wonder if there is another way to do this. Has anyone else tried this type of slip decoration? What are your techniques and how did they work out? I'd love to hear from you.

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