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Mysteria

Lettering On Clay

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I have a cousin getting married next year and as their wedding gift I thought I would give her and her husband-to-be some pottery with their names on it (and maybe the wedding date). I've avoided putting names on pottery pieces in the past..so I'm a little out of my comfort zone here.

My question is: how do I get the stamped letters to stand out on glazed pieces?

Some of the options I have thought of so far are -

* Stamp letters when the clay is still wet, paint underglaze on the letters at the bisque stage and then scrape/wipe away the excess on the raised area when the underglaze has dried.

* Use stains on the lettering at the bisque stage and then wipe away the excess.

* Alternatively I could stamp the letters at the bisque stage (dip it in underglaze and then stamp them)

 

I still haven't figured out how I would glaze it after this though. May put a band of clear glaze over the lettering, wax the area and then dip it in a second glaze.

 

Do you have any other suggestions on how I could approach this project?

 

 

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If I were you, I would paint the area the color you want the letters to be in underglaze, then use the pasta alphabet letters to press in the clay and spell what you want.  Leave them pressed in and paint the second background color over top so the pasta acts like a resist.  Then remove the pasta.  As far as glazing goes your best best would be to paint the clear wax it then dip.

Mysteria and cebulkle like this

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I've done lettering a couple ways. One, is to cut the letters out of a thin slab, and attach them on. Another is to use some old letter print stamps I have; either pressed into the ware itself, or pressed into a small, thin, square slab, that I make for each individual letter.

But, if you don't want the lettering raised up, here is a nice technique:

 

http://ceramicartsdaily.org/pottery-making-techniques/ceramic-decorating-techniques/how-to-use-slip-inlay-with-wax-to-create-thin-lined-decoration-on-pottery/

 

I've used this to create words and imagery on multiple wares. It works very well.

Mysteria likes this

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I've recently bought a bag of alphabet pasta to press into greenware. It will burn out in the bisque fire, and I will then brush with stain/ underglaze and wipe back. I may do a second bisque fire to fix, so that I can dip without contaminating my glaze bucket. Otherwise I'll carefully brush the glaze over.

Have spent hours sorting the letters into a compartmentalised box so that I can find the letters when I need them - a bit tedious, but somehow therapeutic at the same time .

florence w and firenflux like this

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I use metal lettering stamps produced by Chip Art for the scrapbooking industry.  They come in a variety of typefaces, sizes, and upper and lower case letters. 

 

After I stamp into the slightly leatherhard clay, I bisque the piece and then apply a wash of underglaze (or for a slightly metallic look, I use the copper color of Mayco's "Stoneware Wash").  I apply either underglaze or Mayco glaze diluted 1:1 with water to keep it from dyeing the surface of the piece too much.  I then scrub it off with a generously wetted sponge, which leaves the color in the crevices formed by the letters.  Be aware that unless you apply a resist, the washes will remain in all crevices in the piece.

 

The stamps can be ordered from Amazon. (search for "CHIP Art letter stamps by Melody Ross")  Be aware that not all packages come with the metal shaft (which makes stamping easier).  It isn't necessary to use the shaft, however.  

 

In the images attached, I've used two different sets of stamps on the bust with the Emily Dickinson quote "hope is the thing with feathers" -- the small letters are "chickadee" and the slightly larger letters are "sparrow", both of which are lower case. On the bust with the tree branches and the blindfolded bust with the Poe quote ("dream within a dream.") , I've just used the "sparrow" lower case letters, which are about 1/4". 

 

There is a larger, more formal 1/2" letter called "Bluebird" which comes in lower and upper case. The Amazon link for the Bluebird lettering is :   http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003TIZM26/ref=pd_luc_rh_sim_01_03_t_lh?ie=UTF8&psc=1. 

 

Since my work isn't functional, I usually fire the piece and then use thinned underglaze which doesn't obscure the darkened letters.  If I wanted to apply a colored glaze, I would either apply a clear glaze over the letters, wiping away the excess around the letters before applying glaze OR I would apply a resist over the letters and wipe away the excess before applying glaze.  I would fire once again at that point. The benefit of using the Mayco Stoneware Wash is that it is a glaze and needs no further protection.

 

Jayne

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One alternative to indented letters is a beautiful solution by Diesel Clay.  When I asked how he achieved such impressive lettering, he generously provided this response: 

 

"Because i was making so many of those mugs, I went to a sign shop that has a plotter and had them cut me a stencil of the phrase out of Mylar. Then I took clay body slip and pushed it through the back side of the stencil onto strips of newsprint. Let the letters set up a minute or two, and then apply the strip to the soft leather hard pot. Don't remove the paper until the letters are fully set up. Best to leave it on until it falls off, in fact."

 

Pretty darned clever, huh?

 

Jayne

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Well, now Ms. Babs, THAT is an open-ended question!!  Would it be referring to my recent problems with my first attempts at using "real" glazes?  Or my queries about how to join glazed surface-to-glazed surface?  Or my worries about making a vase waterproof?  Or my warped sculptures that rocked like rocking-horses even when they were meant to stand steady and still?  Or perhaps the crappy clay that my poor husband dug 500 lbs of, then toted it in buckets across muddy fields only to find that it has no strength?  ORRRRRRRR – drumroll, please - the results of my second craft show in 5 years, in which I dared to hope for sales that matched last year's record-breaking (well, record-breaking for me) $5100?  I'm just back from the show and pinching myself because, even though most of the 32 sales were in the under-$250 range, I sold $6200 worth of sculptures!  For pictures of some of the new work, check out my gallery - and then tell me how to delete most of the newer images because I accidentally posted the unimproved images instead of the cleaned-up ones!  

 

Arrrgh! With the exception of the successful show, this post reads like an episode of Perils of Pauline!   

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Thank you for all the suggestions! I'm off to do some research on English slipware and then head to the studio to try the other stamp and pasta letter ideas :) Test tiles...here I come!

 

Isculpt, your work is amazing. I especially like the first picture; the bust with the tree branches & the woodland spirit (in your gallery). With the woodland spirit, she seems so mystical & ethereal yet so real at the same time! Her expression looks like she seems amused by something I've said/thought. I will try out the stamps available at the community studio first, but have already added the Chip Art stamps to my cart on Amazon.

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Over the years, I have collected several letter stamps sets. Some of these are made of hard plastic for pressing into clay and other things, some are metal for leather, and most are made of rubber for stamp pad ink. All of these work well for inset letters that get covered with oxide wash, rubbed over with wet sponge when dry, and then bisqued and glazed with a light value glaze over top. Always bleed through nicely.

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One alternative to indented letters is a beautiful solution by Diesel Clay. When I asked how he achieved such impressive lettering, he generously provided this response:

 

"Because i was making so many of those mugs, I went to a sign shop that has a plotter and had them cut me a stencil of the phrase out of Mylar. Then I took clay body slip and pushed it through the back side of the stencil onto strips of newsprint. Let the letters set up a minute or two, and then apply the strip to the soft leather hard pot. Don't remove the paper until the letters are fully set up. Best to leave it on until it falls off, in fact."

 

Pretty darned clever, huh?

 

Jayne

Psst. I'm a girl:)

 

I was just gonna post some images, and there they were already!! I will maybe add that the stencil cost me about $25 CDN, so it's a good value if you'll reuse the image a bunch, and it might not be an untoward cost for something like a wedding gift. It's probably not a good route to go if you're making different words every time, though.

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One alternative to indented letters is a beautiful solution by Diesel Clay. When I asked how he achieved such impressive lettering, he generously provided this response:

 

"Because i was making so many of those mugs, I went to a sign shop that has a plotter and had them cut me a stencil of the phrase out of Mylar. Then I took clay body slip and pushed it through the back side of the stencil onto strips of newsprint. Let the letters set up a minute or two, and then apply the strip to the soft leather hard pot. Don't remove the paper until the letters are fully set up. Best to leave it on until it falls off, in fact."

 

Pretty darned clever, huh?

 

Jayne

Psst. I'm a girl:)

 

I was just gonna post some images, and there they were already!! I will maybe add that the stencil cost me about $25 CDN, so it's a good value if you'll reuse the image a bunch, and it might not be an untoward cost for something like a wedding gift. It's probably not a good route to go if you're making different words every time, though.

 

Pssst!  I KNEW that!!  But it's the "Diesel" that keeps messing with my mind!   (oooops!)  Jayne :blink:

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Jayne any of your probs!! Only if you acccompany them with images!!!

Well done you, now have you got the teapots ready for the next Teapot exhibition at which you do not want to sell?? :D  :D  :D

I was referring to your husband's efforts with local clay. Must be a lesson or two in there somewhere.......

Can't help you with the Gallery ,never posted there but must be a cut/delete button somewhere, maybe under your own profile??

Deisel, male associations?? 

I always spell your deisel  deisol does this change the gender??

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Well, Babs, maybe we can persuade Diesel Clay to tell us the origin of her chosen name?  I know I'm certainly curious!  That's a funny crack about the teapot show; you never forget anything, do you?  And they only hold the teapot show every third year, so I've got time for an attitude adjustment!   And no, my husband hasn't been able to alter that gorgeous clay that he dug up and brought home.  It turns out that it's good only for very small things - traditional pipes and peace pipes and such, but no additions have made it strong enough to create anything over 4" high. And in the personal galleries, I CANNOT find the "delete" button for a single image -- an entire album, yes; a single image, no.  I'll have to post a question about that delete issue.  Maybe someone knows.....

 

Jayne

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Well there is a need for peace pipes throughout the World.

My family shudder at the memory side of my brain at times and at other times exploit it as only loved ones can!

Keep sculpting!

Deisel Clay are you a powerful thrower or do you fire an oil kiln?? A potter I knew used to drip deisol infront of a blower to fuel her kiln. Think some now do this with waste veg oil??

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I'd love to be a powerful thrower on day Babs! I'm workin' on it!

My Husband's last name is Diesel. (Canadian common law for fifteen years. I might not be settled down with him yet, but we've been running around together for quite a while!)

Truth? I thought his last name sounded cooler for a potter than my own.

For the record, I am Calandra Elaine Beller.

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I'd love to be a powerful thrower on day Babs! I'm workin' on it!

My Husband's last name is Diesel. (Canadian common law for fifteen years. I might not be settled down with him yet, but we've been running around together for quite a while!)

Truth? I thought his last name sounded cooler for a potter than my own.

For the record, I am Calandra Elaine Beller.

MS. Diesel Clay, if I had a name as musical as Calandra Elaine Beller, I'd be flaunting it!!  

signed, 

uhhh, well.... just jayne :( )

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