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Swapping the canvas for clay tiles

September 15, 2014

Oh Pottery, you’re my Favorite!

There are many reasons to love pottery: the feel of it in my hands, the patience it requires and instills, and the variety of forms a finished piece can take.  As much as pottery requires harnessing the elements of earth, fire, and water to make art, we are mostly just playing in the mud.  I took my first pottery class in 1999 and have been a potter ever since.  The throwing wheel is the picture that comes to mind for most people when they think of pottery.  I blame the movie “Ghost”.  For a long time I, too,was transfixed by the wheel and worked on it almost exclusively.  While I still love the throwing wheel, now I like to focus on using other tools.

Unpredictability is something I strive for in my art.  I like to create pieces in which the medium is used in an unexpected manner.  A few years ago, I learned a technique from a fellow CHAW teaching artist: how to use a frisket.  You can think of a frisket as a kind of stencil.  By using a frisket and underglaze, artists can create beautiful paintings on their ceramic pieces just as they might with a canvas and paint.  I like how the technique merges the disciplines of painting and ceramics to make something interesting and unique.

Another great benefit of using a frisket and underglaze? It makes pottery so much more accessible!  Unfortunately, some people are turned away from pottery because it often requires large, expensive equipment and is a rather messy affair (there’s that “Ghost” problem again).  But on the contrary, painting with underglaze is just as accessible as oil painting.  One can come straight from work, or, of course, still come prepared to make a mess.  It’s up to you!  No matter how much you want to engage (or not) in the messy parts, this technique is a great way to introduce the casual artist to ceramic art.

Now it’s YOUR turn to experience this fun and creative art form.  Come by CHAW on September 19, 2014 from 6:30-8:30, when I will be hosting “Painting Clay and Sipping Cabernet”!  At this one-night-only workshop, we will use underglaze and the frisket technique to create paintings on clay tiles.  Because of the clean lines and bold colors, the technique is particularly effective for pop art pieces (think Warhol and Lichtenstein…).  This influence will be clear in our first piece, a rendering of Robert Indiana’s famous “Love” sculpture. At the end of the workshop, everyone will glaze his or her work.  It will then be fired again and available for pickup by the following Friday, September 26.

Come join me for a great opportunity to play–just a little–in the mud, and see for yourself why this versatile art form is my favorite.  You can register by calling CHAW at 202-547-6839, and check out our facebook event by clicking here.  The cost is $40 person and includes refreshments and wine.  I hope to see you there!