Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Step 3 - Texturing the Cup Blank
Here, I am decorating the cup blanks with a variety of texture tools. The first image shows a nice brass roller from a bookbinding shop applying a row of dots. I make many of my texture tools from thrown rollers or leather hard blocks of clay.
I generally apply horizontal bands of decoration, but there are probably a zillion other possibilities that I will never think of... you can also leave your cup unadorned, or incise or carve imagery at a later stage of dryness.
Each time texture is applied to the blank, clay is moved. If you apply horizontal bands of pattern, the clay will stretch in the direction that your roller is pushing it. Generally the clay blank will be stretched at least an inch during texturing, and will need to be recut before it is made into a cylinder. It's good to practice on scrap clay with your texture tools so you create the right pressure when you do decorate your blank. Pressing too hard may cause the clay to weaken, or to be distorted when it is formed.
Here are the two cup blanks ready to be formed into cups. Usually I will texture about 8 cup blanks at a time, so the first will be stiffening up while the last are being textured. I like the clay to be firm, but still flexible and able to stick to itself when it is scratched up with a serrated rib. A pulled handle will be added, usually the following day, so the mug must be kept moist enough for the handle to attach easily.