Saturday, September 13, 2008

Enameling Tutorial II: Sgraffito

Once you've got the basic technique of firing enamel down, there are lots of different techniques you can use to make multicolored designs.
The sgraffito technique is a simple way of drawing in enamel. Just like sgraffito in drawing or painting, it involves scratching through a layer of color to reveal the color below.

-Basic enameling materials listed in my Intro To Enameling tutorial
-A sharp, pointed stylus or scriber

-Start by firing a layer of counter enamel on the back of your piece. Then fire a base coat on the front. Keep in mind that this will be the color that will show through the scratched lines in the finished piece. You might need two or three coats to get a smooth surface and consistent color.

-Spray or brush a light coating of holding agent onto the enamel. Too much holding agent will make the enamel powder clump together, making it harder to scratch through.
-Sift a thin layer of your second color onto your piece. Make sure the sifted enamel isn't too thick. In my example piece, I sifted a very thin layer, which allows the base color to show through a bit more.
-Take your scriber or stylus and draw your design in the sifted enamel powder.

-Dry the piece thoroughly and fire it in the kiln.

Try using different combinations of opaque and transparent enamel, varying the thickness of the sifted enamel, using different tools for drawing, etc to get a variety of results. Try combining sgraffito with a other techniques. I have tutorials on stenciling and "sift and dump" coming soon.

1 comment:

Beadles and Stones said...

Thank you for sharing your expertise. Excellent tutorials.