Ellen Kong shares a tip she developed after attending a sgraffito workshop. Using cheap and readily available materials, she came up with a way to ease finger and hand strain from intricate carving. Thanks for the great tip, Ellen! – Jennifer Poellot Harnetty, editor.
I recently attended a wonderful clay workshop focused on the sgraffito process of decoration. Because this involves very controlled carving, at the end of the day everyone was complaining about finger strain and blisters, especially as the clay surfaces gradually dried, making it more difficult to carve. I have made a comfortable device that will ease finger fatigue: I slip a 1-1/2 inch length of plastic straw over a tool, with 1/2 an inch of the blade sticking out. I then slip a pencil grip over the straw. The straw supports the grip beyond the handle, so your fingers are closer to the working tip. Better leverage, with less strain.
**First published in 2008