Updated: Dec 14, 2018
A big part of what I make is made with lace. Lace is truly timeless and has been around for thousands of years. I love the textures, patterns and diversity lace brings to ceramic art work. From rustic to delicate, it gives every piece its own unique style. It's perfect if you are looking for a statement piece unlike any other. Combining the right colours to lace pressed ceramic, really does give a big impression.
I use Lace on everything from jewellery to big ornamental dishes. Here are a couple of examples :
How I do it
I cut a slab of clay from the bulk of clay I have. I need to knead the clay for at least 10 minutes, this is to remove any air bubbles the clay might have. If this process isn't done correctly, the clay will explode in the kiln ( oven ). Once I've finished kneading the clay I have to roll the clay into a flat slab and to the right thickness. I then get my piece of lace, and lay it carefully on the clay. I get a rolling pin and slowly press the lace onto the clay. Sometimes lace is too fine and can tare when its removed from the clay. When this happens I leave the lace to burn off in the kiln, so the pattern in the clay isn't ruined. Usually though, the lace is durable enough to remove without taring. I cut out what piece I need and bend the clay to form the desired shape and I leave it to dry.
Once dried the clay goes in the kiln for the first time. Firing the clay at high temperatures causes chemical changes in the clay, hardening the clay into bisque ( hard pot ).
After the bisque has cooled down is can be glazed ( painted ). Bisque is porous so will absorb glaze when it comes into contact with it. Usually glaze needs 2-4 coats, and 24 hours to dry. When this process is finished it goes into the kiln for a second time. Again, this causes chemical changes in the glaze, at a high temperature the glaze liquidizes similar to glass. Its then cooled down slowly and the glaze hardens. When it has cooled completely it can be removed from the kiln, and you have your finished piece!
Thank you for reading and I hope you have enjoyed learning a little bit more about the process of making ceramics!