Sgraffito means scratching or drawing into clay - the term derives from the Italian graffiare, to draw. It is one of the commonest and most widespread decorative techniques, found in all ages and cultures. However, it is one technique which I had not dabbled in until recently.
During the Henley Arts Trail in early May I was very impressed by the work of Bronwen Coussens who uses Sgraffito to decorate her pots in a style very similar to the work of the printmaker Angie Lewin. I discovered Angie Lewin's work earlier this year and fell in love with her prints inspired by the structure of wild plants. Here is an example of one of her woodcut prints.
For my first attempt at using sgraffito, I made a couple of small heart bowls from terracotta clay, coated the insides with white slip, then 'doodled' with a pencil to reveal the terracotta clay beneath. I have now bought myself a proper sgraffito tool. After biscuit firing, I painted Persian Crackle glaze on the inside of the bowls and fired to Earthenware.
|Sgraffito heart bowls (~8cm)|
|Burnished sphere (~10cm)|
I 'pinched' some small pots in terracotta clay and practised my technique, very pleased with these...
|small Sgraffito vases (~8cm)|
|Koru Sgraffito Vase (19 x 13 cm)|