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. 😀

  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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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…

  6. 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.

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