by Marsha Neal Studio
This month's boot camp is going to be focusing on texturing metal by hand.
Found objects are to be used with the intention of making marks on the metal surface for creating texture, which will add character to the finished piece.
I love to get out a hammer when I need to get out some frustration and hopefully create something cool without being over-zealous and destroying the piece.
But other than wire, I don't work with metal too much these days (although I did try copper enameling last year, and loved it!)...
For a more relaxing outlet, I enjoy spending time doodling with a roller ball ink pen on smooth paper and coming up with some designs that I will use to carve into a leather-hard ceramic clay.
Sometimes if my mind, my hand, and the clay are all in sync, I can sit and free form draw/carve into the clay without having previously drawn out a design.
Once those carved ceramic clay slabs or stamps have gotten to the finished stage, they are fired in a kiln to the bisque stage (hard and porous clay).
I can then either roll fresh porcelain onto those hard porous clay plates and get a reverse printed image or I can texture the slab with my handmade bisque stamps.
It is those fresh textured porcelain slabs that I use to create my finished work.
After cutting out the shapes I want and cleaning up any sharp edges, they are then glazed fired to over 2232 degrees F (Cone 5).
I wrote up a blog post a while back showing my "cutout flower" process HERE.
The textures that I use in my clay work gives my body of work a fingerprint because I carve out my own texture plates from leather-hard ceramic clay. Leather-hard clay is the state of the clay before it becomes very dry. It is hard enough carve into it and get the clay to peel out easily.
But at this stage, it is a bit too hard to press something into it.
When you are working with soft clay, just about anyone can press found objects from nature into clay or carve out textures or patterns, maybe use antique buttons, keys, or miscellaneous found objects.
There are those that are able to carve out relief images in clay and make their own molds to produce their work.
Being a creative individual artist is all about finding your voice and making work your own.
Definitely not about seeing something you like that was made by another person, and setting out with the intentions of recreating it then calling it your own.
Techniques may be similar for making stamps, texturing, cutting, adding holes, finishing your work, etc. And some things such as shapes, themes, color palettes, and such are universal.
You find something that speaks to you from within you, and you make your work from there.
Where does your inspiration for creating texture come from?