Home Truths: Making Plates

As one of my chosen techniques is slip and sgraffito the clay i use has to be leather hard. due to this a work shop was planned so we could mold our own plates. i chose terracotta as i liked the rustic feel and the burn orange finish it gives its also one of the easier clay’s to work with, we molded our plates using either a plaster cast mold or in my case using one of the plates that were provided.

First the clay is quite wet so it is easy to roll and shape, using a rolling pin i wanted to get the clay an even thickness of about a centimeter then lay it over the mold keeping it quite loose so you allow it fill the mold naturally, you can then cut off excess from the sides and create a smooth finish with a rubber kidney this also helps it to fill the mold. The clay needs to be leather hard before applying slip and sgraffito and so you can remove it from the mold with out it loosing its shape. But as we only had one day to create our plates i decided to decorate my plate while still in the mold so it had time to dry over night before being fired.

I was pleased with the results as the images and texture are what i wanted, each drawing is from real event of what happened in native American culture as many chiefs were arrested so that there tribe could be moved to reservations more easily. And the one on the left is an image from the on slaughter of wounded knee where many natives lost there lives to the cavalry although they had surrender their weapons. Both plates are still unfinished as they need to be glazed, then be applied with decal transfers but i am looking forward to the end result.


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