Thursday, May 10, 2012

"How do you do that?????"

"How do you do that" is a frequent question I hear at shows and openings of my work. After describing how I throw the forms on the potter's wheel and carve into them when they are leather hard, the second question is " What tools do you use?"  Unlike a potter friend and fellow carver who uses only one tool for all of her carving, I have quite an assortment. I've never been able to subscribe to "Less is More", for me, it's  always"More is More". Each pot seems to require a different set of tools depending on the forms and textures I am creating. 

When I first began carving old dental tools and X-Acto knives were my main tools. Dental tools are great for creating the undercuts to make your images pop and the X-Acto  knives work well for smoothing excised backgrounds and more geometric forms. 

Dolan tools are great for scooping out curved petals when the clay is soft leather hard.  

Rule of thumb:  softer leather hard, use duller tools, stiffer leather hard, use sharper tools.

Then I discovered this set of mini sculpture tools in the Dick Blick catalogue.  These are now my favorites.  I've colored coded the handles because, when I am wearing magnifying glasses to carve, everything on my table is a blur. The colors help me to grab the tool I want with less fumbling.  


 Loop tools of all sizes are great for excising backgrounds

Lately, I've discovered that cosmetic sponges work the best for refining my porcelain surfaces.  They leave very little texture behind.

Lastly, I have become very picky about the spray bottles that I use.  I am misting my pots constantly to keep them workable for the long time that I need to complete the carving.  I have found that hair product spray bottles give me the finest mist.
Maybe I should print this out to include with my resume at my next opening????????