Archive | Masking techniques

What did you do to him?!

I thought Finn looked a bit seasonal like this, with his orange tobiano patterning and his purple socks. It was also the closest thing to something scary that I could find, not having prepared anything fun for Halloween. Next year I’ll have to plan better so we can do something here at the studio to celebrate.

Fortunately all Finn’s unpleasant colors are temporary. Each one is a different type of masking, and it happened that this pattern and color called for all three.

The orange areas are covered with liquid latex (Miskit). This is my general purpose masking material. It’s great because I can pull it off and detail the edges of a pattern, or I can leave it on and it will fire off – though cooking latex smells quite awful! Latex is especially good for large areas because it goes on pretty quickly.

The purple on his feet is Saranwrap. I like the tinted wrap they sell during the holidays because I can see any gaps I leave. Saranwrap is really useful for legs because it just unwinds. Latex has to be pulled off, which can put a lot of pressure on fragile legs. (It also tends to make a rather unnerving “ping” sound when it finally pops free from the leg.)

And finally the green halo around the spots is wax. Liquid wax resist is the traditional masking material for ceramics, but I rarely use it. Unlike the latex, it cannot be removed prior to firing. This makes cleaning up and detailing patterns difficult. The upside is that it isn’t sticky and gloppy like the latex, so it can be used for finer details.

Even so, the best tool for fine details is an Xacto blade. I like a lot of control over my final pattern, so I usually use the latex and then etch in the details with the blade. But this guy will be a silver dapple tobiano, so I need a base color that will withstand the eraser used to create the dapples. Underglaze that is impervious to the erasers is also impervious to the etching blade. I could use a chalkier underglaze and paint him backwards, like I did with the Oatsville in the previous post, but I want more control over my final tones than working blind like that allows. So I’ve given up some control over the pattern edges to get the control over the shading and dappling.

But for now, he does look a bit scary. But I suppose if I really wanted to scare everyone, I could include a picture of what my workspace looks like in the depths of lottery horse creation. It is not for the faint of heart!

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