Jan 22, 2012

Using Linocuts with Porcelain Clay



I've been experimenting with combining my love of linocuts (linoleum block printing) and porcelain clay. Over the holidays, I made several linocuts on unmounted linoleum, and used them to make a series of pendants and porcelain beads that were really exciting.


Here's a picture of the linoleum cuts. You can use mounted or unmounted linoleum. I like the unmounted because I can cut a large sheet to the size I want. You can get several designs from a8 x 10 sheet:

I rolled my porcelain pretty thin. Then, pressing carefully and evenly, I rolled the linocut over the clay - then cut out the design.

Here's a picture of a birdcage design that is glazed, but not fired. Notice the amount of shrinkage, and the  fact that the image will be reversed on the final design:



I took a picture of one of the leaf designs I made. On the left you see the original linocut. In the center is the busque leaf with glaze applied and lightly wiped off to show detail, and on the left is a finished leaf.  The amount of shrinkage is pretty significant:


Lessons learned:
Don't handle the porcelain too much before it's dry. Porcelain retains a "memory" of it's shape before drying and if it's bent or curved before firing, it tends to return to that shape in the kiln.
Take shrinkage into account when carving designs. It shrunk a lot, which made some of my carving lines almost too thin.
Watch out for sharp linoleum cutters! Those things are sharp!

This was a hugely satisfying learning experience for me. I can see lots of uses for this technique and I can't wait to explore it further.  You can buy your linoleum block printing supplies at online art stores.

4 comments:

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  2. thanks for sharing! I love your photos of the process and how well you explained it all.

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  3. Beautiful technique. Your process is well explained and original.

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  4. Gee ,I just found your blog again.Wonderful!Mom always is last to find out! love you,keep up the good work!

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