Cardboard Stencils and Colored Slips Add Imagery and Texture to Slabs

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I love using stencils in my work. I've tried lots of different materials as stencils, but I had never thought to use cardboard. Karmien Bowman uses cardboard for stencils to create lively imagery as well as dimensionality on her slab built pottery.

In today's post, an excerpt from From a Slab of Clay, Daryl Baird explains Karmien's process. – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.


 

Creating Imagery with Cardboard Stencils and Slip

by Daryl Baird

 

slabstencils_01Having dozens of clay tools is by no means a prerequisite for slab work. But, don't be surprised as you work on your initial projects that you start looking at the utensils in your kitchen drawers or at the hand tools in your garage and find yourself thinking, "I wonder how those would work on clay?" If so, good for you!

 

Creating and Using Cardboard Stencils

Karmien Bowman of Flower Mound, bairdstep2Texas, creates stencils from pieces of thin cardboard. She places the cardboard shapes on a slab then brushes on slip.

 

After the slip sets up, she carefully removes the shapes. This needs to be done before the slip dries, otherwise it cracks off.

 

In the image to the left, Karmien uses a metal ring (a tart pan or springform pan from a cooking store might work well for this) to locate the best image and then cuts through the slab. Any shape can be cut using a fettling knife.

 

SlabsandStencils_3and4Finished shapes that have been allowed to set up over drape molds (bottom). Colored slips add distinctive designs to rolled slabs.

 


 

From simple trays and tiles to complex constructions, Daryl Baird shows you everything you need to know to get started and stay inspired for years in From a Slab of Clay

Learn more and download an excerpt!

 


 

Finished platter by Karmien Bowman.


 

For more ways to add texture to your work, download your free copy of Ceramic Carving Tool Techniques: Bringing the Ceramic Surface to Life!

 


 

 
 
Comments
  • Beautiful work. Love the depth in the final piece.

  • Fascinating and beautiful!
    Thanks for sharing.

  • Karmien’s work is wonderful….she is an excellent teacher with so many great ideas and techniques. It’s so great to see a “local” artist featured in Ceramic Arts Daily!

  • i love way u design works, want to learn more

  • i love the way you design your works, want to learn more.

  • Using cardboard to make stencils is a great idea. Another material I’ve found useful is sheets of flexible craft foam, which is sold at hobby stores such as Michael’s. Craft foam is fairly cheap, and is about the same thickness as cardboard. Stencils made with this material can be wrapped around a curved surface, so long as the curve is not too extreme. It can be used also to make straight lines on curved pots by cutting a strip about 1/4 inch wide, holding down the ends on a pot’s surface, then following along the strip with a pencil to draw a line. You then can remove the strip and go over the pencil mark with whatever colorant you are using.

  • So happy to see this! Daryl Baird’s informative book From a Slab of Clay, in its second edition, shares some of my techniques of slips and slabs using foam and cardboard, leaves and other found shape-plates, to cause & resist areas of color. It’s like print making. The shape-plates are rolled on a Brent Slab Roller, with the clay thickness no less than twice as thick as the shape-plates. Brush on Soto Slips or AMACO Under-glaze and allow the slip to become slightly dry before lifting the shape-plates from an edge with a potter’s pick. It is really fun to cut your own shapes to arrange or just take the best of a composition for a soft or stiff slab form. Thanks to everyone for their interest.
    Enjoy and be sure to share your discoveries!

  • I do papercrafts and am a beginner potter. It just seemed sensible to me to use paper or cardboard stencils and cut-outs, and I have also used thin wood. I hadn’t seen anything about it anywhere, though, so thought I’d come up with my own unique twist! I must say, though, that the texture you are getting is way better than mine, and I will explore this more soon. Thanks!

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