Friday, June 3, 2016

Stencil Me In

You know who I love? Karen Dicenso! Karen is the voice on the phone (one of them) when you call Portland Pottery. (Like, say, when you call to register for the upcoming Raku Workshop! Seriously, do, it's gonna be fun.) She also teaches in the adjacent classroom during my Thursday pm class. We trade ideas back & forth.

Last week she had a good one: she brought a painting stencil to class, along with a "pounce" brush, and underglazed a slab with it. She then used that slab as the bottom of a thrown and altered form, and also to build a mug with the pattern on the inside. I loved the crisp qualities of the stencil image juxtaposed with the softness of the thrown oval, and the natural handbuilt wonkiness of the mug. I'm all about those tensions: human vs machine, tight v loose.

I wish I had taken a photo, but I didn't. Here's my version, though. I used thick porcelain slip instead of underglaze, to get more of a raised pattern. I also used a natural sponge to try and create more of a lacey texture; not sure how successful that was.
I call this my Georgia O'Keefe pot. Shake the Dew Off the Lily!
Because I all about those contrasts, the next time I tried this technique, I wanted to introduce a different quality of mark-making - my fave, slip-trailing. So the stenciled slip decoration is crisp, the trailed slip is squishy...I am sensing some possibilities here.

You can see the "pounce tool" here, in the slip cup. I use quotes because it's really just a bit of foam rubber on a stick! But it really does work better than a brush. You can get them literally anywhere. Okay, not literally: there probably isn't one in your coffee cup or nder your mother's couch cushions, or even at Hannaford. But any craft supply store will have them, as do Home Depot & Target.

This technique works best if you can stencil onto a flat slab - my efforts to stencil onto a thrown piece were...messy. It might work better with a small stencil, or a stencil cut from more flexible material, like maybe tyvek paper.

Those commercial stencils are all fine and good, but the thing I am really excited about? I bought a pack of blank stencil sheets! I also bought an exacto knife - those of you who know me know I am not fond of them, too many bad memories - but a friend told me they cut better with a woodburning tool, which I already have.

Going to try to create a stencil that captures the delicacy and profusion of bleeding hearts. Photos soon! I hope.

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Linda Starr said...

Lori, the blue and white against the brown is wonderful

Lori Watts said...

Thanks! Trying to decide on a glaze to preserve that nice contrast.