Let’s Talk Texture and Clay

Back in the fall I was working away in my clay studio at home and doing various things to finish up a bag of raku clay. I had bought it in anticipation of possibly doing a group raku session but it didn’t work out, so I thought I’d use it in regular projects at home.

I’m not very fond of this clay. I find its color bland and though the clay is fine to work with, it’s not grabbing hold of me in any way. Long story short, I had made some things with it and had some almost-too-dry scraps left. I formed them into tiles. Then, on a whim, I used various tools and objects to impress into the clay. I fired them and then washed them with Jet Black Velvet underglaze, and then dip-glazed them. Here were the results.

Clay tile 11-19 @ 4x4 group - two relief tile studies2

I liked the look of them and I decided to make a couple of vessels using the same impression techniques. I rolled out a slab:

Impressed clay 11-19

I cut it and formed it into two cylinder vessels. I then followed the same production path as for the tiles. Here are the results.

Vessel #1 in total – I’ve left it small so you can see the whole progression – click on the images if you want a detailed view.

And the second vessel:

I used Jet Black Velvet underglaze to coat the interiors of the vessels rather than leaving them the clay color as I might have done if I liked the clay color better!

Impressions Vessel #2 1-20 View 5 top

And here are a couple of portraits, larger sized, Vessel 1, first, then Vessel 2.


9 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Texture and Clay

  1. Sandra McCall

    So cool. Love the color as well as the textures. It looks as if it was a lot of fun doing the random mark-making. That’s my kind of texture. 😀

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. I just grabbed items I had right at hand and got to work. Simple tools can make interesting and complex patterns. This is raku clay and I don’t love the color it fires to, generally, but I feel like I’ve got a good combination here with the black and pinkish-beige together.

  2. Laura (PA Pict)

    I have mentioned Troika before in relation to your work but these definitely remind me of the work of that studio. They are very mid-century modern and pleasing.

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      I refreshed my knowledge of Troika by looking at about a boatload of images. I love their work and thank you for the comparison. Geometric shapes are deceptively simple but can make really complex and beautiful designs.

      1. Laura (PA Pict)

        It was definitely intended as a compliment. As a teen, it was my dream to find a piece of Troika in a junk store so I could bring it home with me. I’d still love to own a piece.

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. I have always been interested in ancient writing systems (as a child I made up alphabets and languages, having an interest in archaeology). And I think this kind of mark-making really harks back to that liking for me. Not to mention that of course, clay is an ancient writing surface! And doing this kind of work, I am reminded once again why that is so. Plus, I just like making designs…

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