My slipped and decorated earthenware forms with floral patterns reflect the cultural landscape of my home state of Virginia, and follow the tradition of material transformation. My approach to mark making and patterning displays a stylization that is similar to the folk arts of the region.

1 Create a tar-paper platter template. Stack foam for a slump mold with an opening 1½ inch from the template’s edge. 2 Create an undulating cloth mold that sits on the rim of the foam mold. Pin the cloth mold to the foam stack using T-pins.

3 Trim a slab to the size of the template. Place it so that the clay edge lines up with the cloth. Rib the slab into the mold.4 Sandwich the removed foam section, the cloth, and the clay (in the slump mold) between your hands, then flip over.

5 Be sure the rim sits parallel to and several inches above the table. Add a foot to the bottom and allow it to firm up.6 Apply a white base coat of slip to the bottom and the rim. Apply a thick colored slip to the interior using a soft brush.

7 Sketch a design onto the interior with a dull pencil. Press lightly so that you don’t scratch through to the clay below. 8 Brush lighter colored slips into the patterns. Use one coat for a translucent effect and multiple coats for more opacity.

9 Achieve a thicker sgraffito line on softer clay with a dull pencil, and a thinner sgraffito line on harder clay with a needle tool.

From the Pottery Making Illustrated Sept/Oct 2010 issue.