Friday, April 17, 2015

Welcome BACK Guest Designer Laura Fraedrich

Welcome BACK to 

StencilGirl Guest Artist

Hi Everyone! My name is Laura Fraedrich and I am a mixed media and ceramic artist from Fresno, California. 
I am so excited to be contributing to the StencilGirl Talk Blog as a Guest Designer!

Back in February, I did my very first post as a Guest Designer for StencilGirl and I gave a brief summary of how to use stencils on ceramic pieces, and talked about how you can get started in the fabulously fun art form of ceramics (you can see that post here). I am honored that I was asked back to do another post! Today I am going to go into more detail of my glazing process and how I incorporate fun tools like stamps and, of course, stencils into my designs!

I started with a flat bottle shaped piece of bisque (what fired clay that hasn’t been glazed yet is called). This was made by pouring liquid clay into a plaster mold, removing it from the mold once it’s firm enough, letting it dry out and then firing it. Dry clay that hasn’t been fired is extremely fragile, so you usually want to fire it first before you start decorating it to prevent breakage if you pour your own molds. Luckily, bisque pieces like the one I used here are sold already made and fired, so I didn’t have to worry about doing all of that.
 I started by painting 3 coats of the black glaze shown in the picture to the sides and spout of the vase. The inside is coated with clear glaze which will seal it in case you want to put water in the vase once it’s fired. I used a special brush called a glaze fan brush to apply the black. Glaze fan brushes are great to use to paint large areas on bisque without making too many visible brush marks.

Next, I chose 4 colors of glaze to use for my background. I applied them by pouring out a few drips directly on the piece and using an old credit card to spread them out. After the orange I applied yellow, lime green and and aqua one at a time on top of each other in random areas.

This is what it looked like after the four background colors were applied. As glaze dries, it usually becomes very pastel in color. They will all become much brighter and more saturated once it’s fired.

My next layer I made with the Warped Holes 6 Stencil . I poured out small puddles of light red and purple onto my palette, laid the stencil down on the front of the vase, and used a sponge on a stick to apply the glazes.

Once I loaded up my sponge on a stick with glaze, I tapped in an up and down motion using medium pressure all over the stencil. You don’t want to tap too hard or else too much glaze will come off and seep undeerneath the edges of the stencil. I alternated the two colors in different areas on the piece.

This is what it looked like when I removed the stencil. Pretty cool, huh?

Next, I used a couple of unmounted rubber stamps to add some more detail to my design. I used the sponge on a stick to apply pink glaze to the stamp.

I flipped the stamp over and placed it on the front of the vase, then pressed down gently all over the stamp to ensure the whole thing made contact with the piece. This is what it looked like when I lifted up the stamp.

I used another unmounted stamp to bring some black into the design. This time I didn’t want to transfer the entire stamp onto the vase so I only applied color in random areas of the stamp with the sponge on a stick.

Both stamps I used are from Mayco and you can find them here.

My next layer was made with another stencil Connection Open Stencil . First I laid it over the front of the vase.

I wanted to leave open ‘windows’ in my design, so I used a light shade of aqua and my sponge on a stick to just go around the edges of the circles. I left the centers untouched.

Without removing the stencil, I then used a darker color of aqua and a sea sponge to go over the lighter shade. This added some depth to and visual interest to the layer.

The sea sponge has a different texture than the sponge on a stick, so it left chunkier marks.

This is what it looked like when I removed the stencil. Not only can you see the lines of the stencil design, you can also see the ‘windows’.

While I was waiting for all of the layers on the front of the vase to dry, I made white polka dots on the sides and top of the vase using the opposite end of my sponge on a stick.  I poured out a small puddle of white glaze, dipped the end of the stick in it, then touched it to the vase. Makes perfectly shaped and uniform sized polka dots every time!

I also touched up the black around the edges because I got some color on it from the stamps and stencils.

The last thing I wanted to do was accentuate the design of the Connection Open Stencil so I used a fine tipped squeeze bottle filled with black glaze to fill in all of the lines between the circles.

This part really tied the whole piece together. Once I was done with this step, I repeated everything on the back side of the vase. I added a few small white dots to the black lines, let them dry, then applied 2 coats of clear glaze over the top of the front and back of the vase. This step is necessary because you generally don’t get full coverage with glazes unless you apply three coats, and there were sections of the front and back that weren’t covered fully by three coats due to the random application of glazes with the credit card, stamps and stencils. If you recall, I applied 3 coats of the black to the sides and top so no clear glaze was needed there.

This is the finished product! It was fired to Cone 06 in a kiln, which equates to about 1831 degrees Farenheit. See how much the colors changed?

I really hope you enjoyed learning a little more about ceramics and all the cool tools you can use to paint clay pieces with. I would be happy to answer any questions you might have or help you locate what you need to get started in the wonderful world of fired arts. You can contact me through my blog/website HERE or on Facebook HERE.  
Until next time!

Stencils Used:


  1. A+mazing work and tutorial. That stencil looks like skull faces to me; I love it!

    1. Thanks, Jane! I see that me an idea!

  2. What a gorgeous piece! And I loved seeing your process - so fun!

  3. What a beautiful piece and a great new way for me to use my stencils, very inspiring! I want that jar!


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