Colored Clay with Curtis Benzle

Colored clays have been used for centuries in ceramics to attain qualities not possible with any other technique. From jewelry and lighting to functional and sculptural pieces, working with colored clay requires a whole different way of thinking in ceramics...(Scroll for more.)

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Runtime: 1 hour 57 minutes

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…Instead of forming objects and applying decoration and finishes separately, using colored clays allow you to do everything at once so you are basically forming and decorating at the same time.

Curt Benzle is one of the world’s leading experts on colored clays, a medium he’s been working in for nearly 40 years. In this Ceramic Arts Daily DVD, he demonstrates how to create colored clays and how to use them in various techniques such as neriage, nerikomi and colored slip to obtain successful results.

“Very informative and I learned a lot of new tricks for working with colored clay.” — E. McL Blackflads Alberta, Canada

Mixing colors

Curt begins his demonstration by taking you step-by-step through the process of making your own colored clays. By explaining several methods, you’re better able to choose the one that fits your situation and what you intend to make. He explains the importance of translucency and discusses the types of clay that are best for this.

Neriage

In neriage, colored clays are blended together to create a marbleized effect. When thrown on a wheel, or used in handbuilidng, the effect is stunning as the surface is later scraped to reveal the multiple colors of the clay. Curt demonstrates the process for blending the clays then describing how to techniques for both handbuilding and throwing.

Nerikomi

Nerikomi is a technique where specific images are created in layers within a tube or ‘log’ and then segmented as cross-sections. These image wafers are then used either individually or as a repeat pattern in a way not unlike that of the millefiori technique used in glass. Curt demonstrates how to create two kinds of colored clay blocks, one where the colors are gradated and one with a pattern.

Colored slips

Another technique Curt demonstrates is using colored slips, again made from the same clay used throughout every process. With colored slips, even more surface effects can be done that are not possible with standard clay and glazes. And it’s possible to combine colored slips with either neriage or nerikomi techniques to provide additional variety.

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