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I dont tend to decorate my work much – other than using a number of glazes. Last term I was tempted to try something different and stretch myself a bit so I signed up for a couple of decorative surface and printing classes at the city lit. One covered the full span of surface treatments from marbled clays, slips, underglazes, glazes, overglaze enamels and lustres. The other focused specifically on digital transfer printing. Here’s some of the results.

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I got a bit obsessed with using my photography for the transfer printing – and doing so with cut out sections of images rather then sticking a whole pic on, and at the time pictures of 3d things seemed appealing. In retrospect these dont work so well, I think the flatter more graphic images work better. It was a short course running for the first time and beset by time issues including snow and late deliveries so there was no time to do the planned first iteration. That’s a shame as with it i might have realised sooner how important the relative size of print and item are – and some of these I think might have worked better as a result. For example, the blue door is actually a c. 5′ door in some large workshop double doors. If I’d printed it smaller the proportional relationship with the height of hte mug would have been stronger. Hey ho.

A lot of the pieces I did in the longer course were very experimental test tiles, and have not yet been photographed, but here’s some that have.

The featured image above included a number of combined clay bodies, screen printed slips and a number of matt and gloss glazes printed on top. The pattern has some structure to it and worked out surprisingly well given that I dont think of myself as a ‘pattern person.

This one was an experiment in marbling bodies, plus some lustre. I quite like the sense of colour within the piece, but the marbling needs to be more controlled/worked up.

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These two are top and bottom of the same piece. They use stencilled slips from a 4 colour stencil of an image based on one of my photographs. I did one version replicating the composition of hte image and printing direct onto the clay, and then printed another of each colour onto paper. These were then used as offset prints and applied to a slip-coated body in new ways. This use of ‘found’ imagery appealed to me, and I think worked quite well. The paler green triangles were underglaze potato printed onto paper and then applied in the same way. The base also has matt glaze which was mixed with wax for a resist and then printed on with a cut out sponge. It doesnt really show in the photograph but it’s interesting to get two glazes adjacent with a clean hard line between them. I also rather liked the ‘aging’ effect of where the paper crinkled and the slip dropped off, but again it hasnt photographed too well.

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This last one as a piece I dont like at all, but this texture on it is very promising. We mixed oxides with something sticky, i forget what, printing ink maybe, on a sheet of glass and then rolled it out. I then drew the lines into the ink and pressed the paper onto it to create an offset print. This was then pressed onto damp slip and left to dry and fired with the paper in situ. It creates a lovely rusty feel.

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2 thoughts on “Printing experiments

  1. Beautiful and intriguing work. I’ve always wanted to explore this area, but other than having some transfers commercially made for a commission a few years back, have done nothing. Must change that!

    • Thank you. They feel like a bit of a mixed bag to me, and not at all finished pieces, but it was definately good to do the course and get pushed to try lots of different techniques and find out which ones resonate. It was also great to see other student’s work as they varied wildly and showed what was possible – go for it!

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