Monday, 5 October 2015
This year I've been using a speckled stoneware clay more often to make new designs. Some of these designs I make exclusively using this clay because they go together so well. When fired, this clay is lighter in colour than my usual stoneware and is best described as 'ecru'. It has a brown speckle throughout which comes from the tiny flecks of iron inside the clay.
As well as being a lovely clay to throw (it's very smooth and creates hardly any mess!) the speckle feature is very versatile. I often leave areas of pots unglazed to show off the natural bare clay. The speckle is great for this as it has lots of interest both visually and also to touch. It's a very tactile surface when fired and feels rougher than my usual stoneware but has a warmth to it too. It's great for making modern style cylinder shapes like my new large fruit bowls and salt and pepper sets (seen in the photos above).
I've also been using the speckle stoneware as a base for some new sgraffito designs (seen above). My usual stoneware clay is a bit too dark for this type of work, so having a lighter clay has allowed me to develop a new range of blue speckle ware. I've made just a few pieces in this style so far (some of which have been bought straight out of the kiln!) It requires brushing on a blue black slip onto the pot whilst still at the leather hard stage. Then I scratch (sgraffito) a design onto the pot. This reveals the light clay underneath giving a contrast. Finally I use a clear glaze over the whole pot to allow both the blue and the bare speckle clay to show through.
The lighter colour of this clay means that when I apply my usual glazes to it, these look very different too. This creates more versatility and options without having to create new glaze recipes. Most of the time though I prefer to use either clear glazes or an oatmeal glaze with this clay - both of which allow the natural speckle and ecru colour to show through. This style creates a very simple but modern feel which I really like.
Anyway, hope you enjoy the photos of some of my speckled stoneware pots! All the pots in the photos above are currently available in my Folksy and Etsy shops.