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.


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

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

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