"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.
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.
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????????