Stamp-making instructions:

-start with a small amount of clay and pinch up a decent-sized handle

-tap to flatten top on smooth surface (you don’t want to have a stamp that transfers an unintentional texture like canvas)

-cut out main shape, taper/round the edges with your finger

-press tools into the surface to create texture on the face of the stamp, or carve out pattern with needle or sgraffito tool

-smooth any sharp edges in the middle of the stamp with a small, barely dampened stiff-bristled paint brush

-if you want a scrolly pattern of any kind: flatten out small coils with a roller, arrange into desired design, score and attach to stamp blank


Stamp design references:

There are so many books out there that provide a wealth of ideas and inspiration for stamp designs. Here are a few of my favorites:

*******-Textile Designs, by Susan Meller and Joost Elfers*******

-Vintage Fabric from the States, published by Pie Books

-Art Forms in the Plant World, by Karl Blossfelat

-Twentieth-Century Pattern Design, by Lesley Jackson


Darby Satin White (liner glaze) cone 05-02:

Spodumene-                   45

Gerstley Borate-             36

Silica-                                 19

Zircopax-                           5

Titanium Dioxide-           5


Terra sig base: 

(This recipe is one that I received from a workshop conducted by Gail Kendall, and Meredith Brickell was a guest presenter. It originated by Pete Pinnell)

2 parts water

1 part ball clay (OM4 or XX Saggar)

.5% (of the weight of the clay) Sodium silicate 

So, for instance, if you were using 10 lbs of clay, you would measure 20 pints of water (bc "a pint's a pound the whole world round!") and 22.7g of sodium silicate. This is the amount I usually make and easily fits in a 5 gal bucket. Pour the water in first, then dump the powdered clay on top, allow it to slake down, mix with a paddle mixer for 5-10 minutes. Add sodium silicate and mix again for 5-10 minutes. Allow the mixture to settle about 8 hours or so and siphon off the middle layer (water will be on the top, terra sig in middle and heavy particles on the bottom).

To make colors, add up to 3 tsp. mason stain or oxide for every 1 c. base terra sig. You can also add up to 1 tsp of titanium dioxide per cup of terra sig for greater opacity in the surface.  


Patina (the blackish part that settled into the textures):

1 T Gerstley borate


1 T colorant (I use black copper oxide)

8 T water

This should be very watery and the particles settle quickly, so you'll need to stir it often. Brush the patina over textured surfaces and rub off with a dry sponge (wear a mask please, if you do this) or wipe with a clean, damp sponge. If you use copper as a colorant, it tends to fume a little bit when fired in the kiln, so you may want to keep it off the bottoms of your pots. 

And, finally, a quick rundown of the "order of things" as it pertains to the way I work with terra sig (remember- if you want your pieces to be vitrified at a low fire temp, make sure you're using a true low fire clay):

-make a sweet pot

-let it dry completely to BONE DRY

-apply 2-3 coats of terra sig: what you see is what you get. If it looks streaky now, it will look streaky after you fire. Put on another coat if you see brushstrokes you don't want to see. Burnish.

-BISQUE fire pieces (I typically fire to cone 06)

-Line interior of pots with glaze

-brush on patina and wipe off so it stays in grooves and textures. You will need to clean out your sponge often

-If you want black in the textures on a surface that will be under the clear glaze, use watered down black underglaze (instead of patina) and wipe off

-brush clear glaze on parts you want to be shiny (I use Amaco's LG10- clear transparent)

-fire to cone 03/02 (I also do a 15 minute hold at the end to make it a touch higher cone)