• Katie

Rejuvenated and ready to go...

Happy New Year!

Today started with a good idea of where I wanted to go next and what I needed to do to move forward.

The clay I had prepared before the Christmas break had hardened but was still a little too soft to gouge - I therefore left it in the open to 'mature'.

Meanwhile, I procrastinated. I knew what I wanted to do but was unsure of the best way to go about it...think, logically.

I decided that whilst I was thinking I would practice my throwing skills. 9 wedged balls of clay later, I was ready. Then...

Matthew entered carrying with him a couple of books to lend to Kate S. One caught my eye and I asked if I could take a peek. Brilliant!

Additions to Clay Bodies by Kathleen Standen. What a serendipity!

The chapter on Colour was just where my indecisive brain was lingering.

What a very readable book.

In the book, Standen describes how she goes about adding colour to clay. She tests various percentages of body stains and oxides added as a powder to the base clay mixture. She uses mixtures of colours, a bit like mixing paint to achieve shades and tones.

Some artists add the colour as a dry weight to dry clay powder. I tested this method and found it very time consuming for the quantity of clay produced. Therefore I took the option of testing the colours mixed into plastic clay - in this case porcelain as it is a good white base.

Each ball of porcelain weighed 50g and I planned on adding a % of each colour to 4 different balls so getting a gradient in shade of each chosen colour.


I tried dry powder colour to the plastic clay but when I began to blend it, the clay became dry and cracked. I then chose to add water to the colour, this resulted in it being squirted across the room as I squidged the clay together :(.

Eventually, and much more successfully, I found that to make a paste from the coloured powder and then to fold it into the porcelain, a little like a cornish pastie, was the best way forward.

Trial and error!

From the top, the test pieces have 20%, 10% 5% and then 1% added. The yellow tiles need 1% testing again as it was my first attempt!

I intend to continue with blending colours until I have a palate from which I can choose the appropriate shade for my work.

Influenced by Kathleen Standen

#AdditionstoClayBodies #KathleenStanden #Testing #colour #porcelain #shades #tones #book

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