Friday, July 1, 2011

Inlaid Clay

Every time I experiment with clay the new piece becomes my new favorite. How about you, do you find that to be true with new things? New shoes, new recipe, new book, new plant in the garden? Today I inlaid white stoneware clay into an iron rich red stoneware clay for this serving platter which is about 12 x 10 inches. I've used this inlaid technique before, but with high fire clays. The last two photos are examples from a few years ago.

I never know if the two clays will be compatible until I fire the piece. This piece will have to dry and then be bisque fired, then glaze fired and if it turns out then I make more and wait for them to dry, fire them and so on. So new clay designs can be a long process from the concept to the end result of a successful piece.

Originally I thought this technique was called nerikomi but with nerikomi two different clays are layered one on top of another then cut up and a piece is made with the melded clays. With this method the color of the contrasting clay shows on the inside and outside, it goes all the way through. Then I thought this might be mishima, but with mishima the design is carved into the clay and then slip is put in the carved or cut out section.

For my inlaid clay I roll out a slab and then I take the contrasting clay and roll it in thin strips and 'paint' with those strips directly on the clay. Then I roll the the two clays to embed one clay into the other. The contrasting clay only shows on one side. If the two clays shrink at similar rates then the design will become one with the background. If one clays shrinks more than the other, either the clay will pop out or the design might shrink more than the background clay and leave a gap.

I hope the platter works out since it's my new favorite piece. The white strips of clay were very thin till I rolled them into the other clay. They almost look like ribbon embroidery to me now. I remembered to say white rabbit this morning, yippee. Hope you have a wonderful weekend and a Happy Fourth of July. Thanks for reading and for all your comments.


  1. Nice! I really like the platter too!

  2. I came by to tell you I remembered white rabbit white rabbit. Then I get to see wonderfulness too...holey smokies are doing such beautiful things. I love the platter with the stripes, all of them are great, but it's my FAV.

    When I came downstairs this morn, hubby had just turned on the t.v. and Alice and Wonderland was playing and guess what was on the screen...The White Rabbit!

    Have a great week-end.

  3. Are you just going to clear glaze or use some color?

  4. These are fun. Can't wait to see them're always doing something interesting.

  5. rabbit-rabbit linda!
    Today i need a big white double rabbit!
    love the inlay.

  6. Very nice inlay. A couple years ago I studied mishima. I just fell in love with the technique. Very time consuming, but well worth the effort.

  7. I'll keep my fingers crossed for good luck on the clays being compatible ;^)

  8. Hi Patricia, thanks so much.

    Hi Barbara, thanks, the one with the stripes is from a couple of years ago and found a new home a while back, I might make more of those if this one fires ok.

    Hi Dennis, thanks, I think I might fire the little floral bowls as test tiles and see how they come out and then fire the platter after I know what the glazes will do. I was just going to use a clear glaze but now that you bring up the subject of color, that might be nice.

    Hi Turquoisemoon, thanks, my mind is a jumble of ideas that's for sure. Ha.

    Hi Meredith, thanks so much, I'll send a rabbit your way.

    Hi Cindy, thanks, do you have any work with the mishima to show on your blog? I would think it would be time consuming as well, this inlay isn't quick either, but probably quicker than mishima.

    Hi Anna, thanks, I do hope it turns out, I'm getting quite a backlog of work and need to start thinking of firing, but the weather is thunderstorms every day now, so will have to wait for a window of opportunity.


I love suggestions, questions, critiques, thanks for your comment