My latest work in progress, or WIP, is a two-handled unicorn cup. I threw the cup on the potters wheel, and attached rolled-out coils of clay for the handles. Once the clay was hardened up enough to carve – but not too dry – I started the unicorn decoration.
Here’s a cup ready to work on. This is porcelain clay, and will turn white once it’s fired in the kiln.
I drew the general shape of a unicorn on to paper, then cut it in half to make it easier to trace on to the cup. The body is stretched out in order to decorate more of the cup. She’s an extra long unicorn!
This shows the outline of the unicorn drawn lightly in to the clay with a pencil.
I use Amaco underglaze to paint the shape.
Then I use carving tools to carve designs through the underglaze, which allows the clay to show through. This kind of carving decoration is commonly called “sgraffito,” from the Italian word graffiare (“to scratch”), ultimately from the Greek γράφειν (gráphein, “to write”).
Here’s the final design of her front side. I use a variety of carving tools, mostly made by Kemper, along with pens and pencils. Now the cup will dry, then she’ll be bisque fired, then dipped in a clear glaze and high fired.
Here’s another cup – this one designed with blue underglaze.
I’ll post photos of the final cups when they’re out of the high-fire kiln.