A sprig is a press-molded clay piece added to leather-hard work. Sprigs are created using small sprig molds made of bisque-fired clay, plaster, or any other material that can be carved or cast. Jen Mecca uses sprig molds to add depth to the slip inlay drawings with which she adorns her pots.
In today’s post, an excerpt from her video Thrown, Altered, Sprigged, and Sketched, Jen shares how she makes her sprig molds and then demonstrates how she creates sprigs and affixes them to her pots. – Jennifer Poellot Harnetty, editor.
PS: Check out this archive post for another take on sprigging ceramics.
This clip was excerpted from Thrown, Altered, Sprigged, and Sketched, which is available in the Ceramic Arts Shop!
To learn more about Jen Mecca or to see more images of her work, please visit http://jenmeccapottery.com/.
A Little Background on Sprig Molds
Wedgwood Jasperware from England is a well-known example of sprig-decorated ware. While Wedgwood’s patterns are very delicate and intricate, simple sprig molds can be made using almost any object or hand-modeled relief that does not have undercuts. (Undercut-common flaw in plaster or bisque molds, where the clay or casting catches and will not pull free without breaking or distorting).
Historically, sprigs were removed from the sprig molds then applied to the pot. You can also press the sprig onto the pot while it is still in the mold, which can either be a gentle press or a deep one that changes the contour of the pot. Doing this requires an interesting shape for the whole sprig mold. – Judi Munn
Using Sprig Molds a Little Differently
Blair Clemo is a contemporary artist who uses sprig molds in his work in a slightly different way than usual. He actually makes sprig molds that are long strips. Then he uses those strip sprigs like coils and builds his pots with them. Check out this video to see his process!
Do you have any creative ways to use sprig molds? Share them in the comments below!