As you might have noticed, I love adding texture to my pieces. The glazes I have formulated for my pots break over high points and pool in recessed areas. Accentuating textured areas such as stamped patterns and slip trailing. I have a large collection of stamps from MKM Tools, one-off stamps that I’ve picked up at NCECA and a plethora of other sources. Including ones that I have made out of a variety of materials.
I had been working on some Sculpey modeling with my kids and found myself making stamps for my pots as they were making animals and figurines. I’ve always enjoyed making stamps out of clay and then bisque them. But I sometimes can be a bit impatient. This gave me the ability to make the stamps I had in my head, bake them in the oven and then press into clay within a few hours! You can pick up Sculpey at any craft store and lots of places online. I opted to use the bulk white instead of colors because it’s a bit less expensive when buying a larger quantity. And the tools can be just about anything found in your studio, toolbox or kitchen!
The directions that Sculpey gives for baking thicker pieces:
“Preheat to 275 degrees F (135 C). Bake for 30 minutes per quarter inch of thickness. It is suggested that thicker pieces be initially baked for 15 minutes, then another 5 minutes, another 5 minutes, etc. The clay needs at least 15 minutes to cure properly.” The thicker the piece, the longer it should bake.
I have also used this technique with elementary school art classes. It was really empowering for them to make their own tools and then make pieces with the tools they made! Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos of their awesome pieces. But hopefully these photos of my stamps will do.
examples of geometric stamps
examples with rounded lines
As you can see, I do some slip trailing and other tools for imprinting to further pattern the piece and add dimension.
Have fun making some tools! If you want to see some previous tool-making posts of mine, here are a few oldies but goodies:
And for today’s moment of meditation… here is a little video of me adding slip trailed dots to a mug. But 10 times faster than in real life.