Paper Stencils & Wax Resist

Just thought I’d share some photos of my further experiments with engobes. The method that I’m using here is a combination of paper stencils, combined with wax resist. I’m intentionally leaving some areas of plain clay because I want an interaction with the mat finish of the clay and the satin finish of the engobe. Although I’m happy with the final design, I don’t think I left enough of the clay.

I started by cutting out random swirl forms from newspaper. I place the forms flat on a table top when done in some assemblage of what I’d like them to be on the finished pot. This doesn’t always work once I move them to the curved surface of the pot and I end up moving them around to fit anyway. I’m having a hard time getting the stencils to actually stick on the pot. I don’t want the pot too wet because I don’t want to make the engobe muddy when applied. I ended up wetting the stencils to apply them – kind of like wallpaper – but they tear easily this way. If anyone out there does this and would like to share their ideas, I’d like to hear them!

A mazerine blue stained engobe is then applied to the entire pot. Once the engobe is dry (it does not take very long), I carefully take a needle tool and pry the edge of the stencils off the clay and remove them. I have had some engobe that runs through the stencil edges in spots that I need to clean up but maybe because it’s too thin. I have it as a cream consistency at the moment. It seems to thin out as it sits.

Once the stencils are removed – magic! The design appears. In retrospect, I am thinking I should have left it just as it is in this photo, but I kept on going.

I then applied wax resist to all blue areas, overlapping the brown swirls just a bit to get an outline of the form. Then applying a contrasting green stained engobe, carving through certain areas (which will remain clay) for emphasis.

And so we have the finished pot before it goes into the kiln.

The next victim…err pot…will be a teapot. For that one, I plan on using just one color engobe and striking a better balance with the blackness of the raw clay. Stay tuned!

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  1. wow…that is really cool….never saw that actually done…..thanks

  2. You beat me to this process…I have intended to try some pieces, but have not yet done so. Check Zygote Blum’s blog…He uses this procedure extensively.

    • Do you have a link, Gail? I googled it and just came up with a myspace page and facebook page.

      • Nancy…Check his blog…
        October 2010…Five handmade minutes-slip-up

        I think there are also other posts on the technique…

  3. Alicia Bossero

    Me encantó la idea.Voy a probarla.Gracias.

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