Hi my name is Jackson Gray and I'm a studio potter and today I would like to give you a look into the process of my pottery and how I incorporate stencils into my work. I am using the Sand Dollars and Sea Horse stencils designed by June Pfaff Daley for StencilGirl.
First I roll out a slab of clay between 3/16" boards and lightly trace my template into the slab. Looks like I can get 3 mugs from this slab. Then, I sponge on the first layer of underglaze. I am using Mayco brand, True Teal first.
Before sponging on more colors, I must make sure that each layer is no longer shiny so that the colors don't smear and get muddy. The other colors are Electra Blue, Bright Blue and Apple Green. It is easier to work with the stencils when the clay can be moved around and the stencils are cut apart, so I make the cuts and now I can focus on one mug at a time.
Once I am certain the underglaze has completely dried, I place some of the stencils and holding them tightly to the surface, sponge away the color, then carefully apply a layer of slip (fluid clay) and lift away the stencil.
Now I cut at the bevel, rough up the surface that is to be joined and apply some of the slip to the seam (scoring and slipping). I wrap the piece around a form that I have previously made. This provides a stable surface that I can press against to insure that the seam is well joined.
Now I roll my wooden tool from side to side forcing a little slip out from the joint. After cleaning up the inside seam area, I cut a circle of clay from the scrap and stamp it with my logo.
After scoring and slipping both sides of the edge of the cup and bottom disc, I press it into place and reinforce it by rolling the pony roller around the edge. Carefully I clean away the slip that oozes from the seam. Then with a tool I made from a Formica sample, I round the lip and then roll it over my hand to give an inviting edge for your mouth.
I score and slip the parts to be joined and while supporting from the inside, I attache the handle, top and bottom. I press a small stamp of a turtle at the base to further reinforce the join. I turn the mug over and gently coax the handle to a pleasing curve and allow it to dry in this position. When the mugs are no longer cool to the touch, I load them into my kiln for bisque firing. This drives out all the remaining moisture and burns out organic materials and tightens the clay particles making the piece less fragile when glazing. This step is skipped by some potters--there are no hard and fast rules.
Jackson Gray is a full time studio potter living in San Diego CA. You can catch her work at weekend arts & crafts shows, on her website HERE or her Facebook Page HERE.