Capturing Nature in Clay with Matt Krousey
In this video, Matt Krousey shares his techniques and inspirations for making ceramic work about the natural world. In the demonstration, Matt shows how he throws his signature stacked oval sandhill crane vase, a faceted bowl, and a platter with ... (Scroll down for more!)
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… a horned owl drawing. He also shares the ways he works with slip to enhance his drawings and invoke the natural beauty that surrounds his rural Minnesota home and studio.
Throwing Large Forms in Sections
Matt begins the demonstration with his tall stacked oval vase. These pieces are thrown in sections and Matt shares his tips on how to get the sections to be the correct size so they can be stacked. He also tells how to avoid the dreaded “potato chip” bottom creating an ovoid form. Throwing in sections is a great way to make very tall forms, and very tall forms are great for certain types of illustrations. This form will inspire you to think big!
Roundness is Overrated
After assembling the vase, adding handles and decorating, Matt moves on to his squared faceted bowl and squared plate. All of the pieces Matt throws in this video are on the large side and he shares great tips to creating larger pieces. He also shares his interesting faceting technique using a rusty repurposed tool (just like Hamada!).
Bringing Surfaces to Life
Next, Matt shares how he uses a variety of decorative techniques to capture the natural world around him. At the greenware stage, he demonstrates how to use thick slip to create background texture and how he uses a fettling knife to draw through white slip to create simple but expressive animal imagery. Later, he shows how he uses stains and wax resist combined with a bisque slip to create more abstract interpretations of the rural Minnesota prairie landscape.
Although Matt fires his work in atmospheric kilns, these techniques can be done with with any clay body or firing temperature. All you need is a little of your own creativity. If you are interested in bringing natural imagery into your work, Matt’s insights and tips will get you well on your way!