What is Sgraffito?
Sgraffito is simply a cross between drawing and scratching, meaning that the image is scored into the clay. The beauty of this method is that when the image is drawn into the clay, it reveals the colour of the clay beneath. As I use the deep rich red earthenware clay, I feel this creates a very warm line drawing. First, I make piece from the red earthenware clay. This might be thrown on the wheel, or it might be made with a range of handbuilding methods. Then I paint onto the ceramic piece, before it has become too dry, with coloured liquid clay called slip. The sgraffito technique creates a depth to the imagery on the ceramics, especially when it is combined with the hand mixed glazes.
I like there to be an element of mystery to the stories, hinted at in the images, that I draw and paint on the sgraffito pieces. Sometimes I will spend a long time thinking about, and designing, a particular piece, especially the bigger pieces. I also reuse ideas, stories and images, so that the pieces become a work in series.