One of the reasons we opened The Bent Brush is to provide an outlet for people to get creative, whether they think they are creative people or not. And we made sure to have lots of tools on hand to help those who don’t think of themselves as creative still paint pottery they are proud to display in their home or give as a gift. Our goal is to make new techniques accessible and manageable for everyone from beginners just figuring out what they like, to serious studio potters who just want to try something new. Three of those tools that can help you look professional are stamps, stencils and silkscreens! Let’s take a quick look at those techniques.
We have stamps that are created for use with glazes, paints and even moist clay use. The flexible rubber material allows for use on curved shapes without compromising the design. Using stamps is so simple. You just choose exactly where you want to place your design on the piece, lightly apply glaze or paint to the stamp, being sure not to use too much or it will fill in the fine lines in the stamp design, and then press it against your ware. Stamps can be used to create outlines to paint in with additional color, or they can be stamped into the colors of your choice and left as colorful outlines on your piece.
Stencils, are a way to easily create patterns by applying ceramic glazes, acrylics, textured paints, pastes or other decorating media onto your pottery piece. You can use them in several different ways.
You can use a stencil in the same way as a stamp by simply applying the medium of your choice to the stencil and then pressing it against your piece to leave the outline of the stencil on the piece.
You can use a stencil as it is designed originally to be used, which is pressing it against your piece and then using a foam roller or foam applicator to lightly dab the glaze or paint onto the piece through the stencil, filling in the places in between the design and leaving that design on the piece.
You can even use a stencil as a template to carve a design into clay. Our stencils are sturdy, yet pliable enough to wrap around a curved surface. You can use them with wet clay if you come in to hand build or use the pottery wheel, or you can use them with bisque clay and a carving tool to carve into the bisque. Be very careful when doing this technique however, due to the use of a sharp tool to carve.
Silkscreens are a great way to add intricate detail work to your pottery, while keeping a consistent look to the overall piece. Silkscreen medium can be added to underglazes, or paint to create a ceramic “paste,” which is then rubbed through the screen onto the surface of your pottery.
Choose a silkscreen texture to use and then the area to be silkscreened, and then tape the silkscreen to hold it in place while you apply your color mixture.
Choose your color and add the silkscreen medium a little bit at a time to your color and mix slowly until it is the texture of paste. If the mixture gets thick, just add more color. Too thin, then add more silkscreen medium.
Use a sponge or squeegee or even your fingers to apply your inking mixture to large or small areas. Before you remove your screen after applying the color, test the crispness of your edges and make sure that your color is applied in the proper thickness by lifting up one edge of your screen to see how the image transferred before you remove it completely.
Some creative considerations: combine screens on one piece to create depth by using lighter colors for the background and darker colors for the foreground. Add color to your design by screening in black and then filling in the images with color washes or underglazes. You can also screen in color for a different look!
We love to train people in new techniques and we urge you to check out our special events on our Events page on the website or the weekly classes we offer! You are creative and you can turn out gorgeous pottery pieces for home or to give as gifts! Come visit us at The Bent Brush!