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Conversations with Clay: Ceramic Black and White Sgraffito - Wall Art

How these designs came to be:

Whether I am creating a sculpture, a dinner plate or a mural, I almost always use the Slab Construction technique, but it really depends on what it is I am creating.

These Ceramic Black and White Sgraffito - Wall Art began with two slabs of clay. Originally they were to be used as a cup, but as they began to evolve I sensed they wanted to be something else. Wall Art.

After the two slabs are assembled (Which I'll explain in my next post) the form takes shape from the inside out, sliding my fingers and pushing outwards to create an open ball. Basically a wobbly bowl.

The Mark & Scratch

After a layer of black underglaze is applied I use my ribbon tool to create random marks. This is also known as Sgraffito-Graffiare (Italian for "Scratch").

What I love about this technique is how you don't have to have a design in mind, you can just discover something within the marks.


Slightly Planned

This Piece did have an idea in mind!

I wanted to create something that symbolized a dear horse I loved & lost and a horse that knew him. She is currently helping my heart heal. This is Benny & Gem.

This piece changed so much over the course of its creation. Although I don't have all the pictures to show, above are some I remembered to capture.

Creating sgraffito was a little like sculpting with this piece (Sculpting: What I love to do most with clay). Scratching away the black underglaze while leaving some to mark important structural areas such as bones and muscles. Or whatever felt right at the time.


There's a lot of it. Mostly because I am adding and taking away until it feels right as a whole. It can come quickly or it can take two days or more for the design to feel right. Quickly is not a regular in my studio and that's Ok.

What I love most about this series is how I never know what the design will look like. This way I can just go with it.

I am grateful for those long conversations with clay.

The Last Stage(s)

When the conversations between myself and Clay have given the thumbs up, the work is loaded into an electric kiln from the 70's for a bisque firing. The work is then finely sanded down for a very smooth finish.

Following the glaze application and the final firing.

Ready to hang!!!

*This design is available in the shop


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