Hi! Krithika Parthan here and today I get to talk about what is probably my favorite clay technique ever. That’s a pretty bold statement! But I just adore silkscreening so much! For someone who considers herself “crafty but but not artsy”, silkscreening is the perfect way to create detailed gorgeous pieces without needing to draw myself. Textures let me do that as well, but with an additional dimension.
There’s a fair bit of contention about using commercially available silkscreens and textures in your work. People seem to think that it takes away from the originality of their work if they do this. The important thing to remember is that textures and silkscreens are just another set of tools that will help you create your pieces, just like a block of clay or a tissue blade.
With just one pattern, you can create infinite variations by changing the base clay or the treatment on top. In the picture, I have silkscreened the same leaf pattern on a number of different clay sheets. Starting from left top corner going clockwise the base clay is Igloo, a mix of pearl and glitter, 18K gold and Yellow Gold Glitter clay. I have colored all of them with alcohol ink markers. You can see how the effect goes from matte to shimmery and straight out blingy! To provide some contrast, there’s also a sample where I’ve used gold paint on Peacock Pearl and just added some syndee holt style dots with a dotting pen and/or alcohol markers.
I’ve only covered a handful of options here. Even with coloring, you could use color pencils, alcohol inks with a paint brush, or even watercolor pens. How about trying it on a Skinner blend, or a surface colored with chalk pastels? Is your head spinning yet?!
Of course, you don’t have to stick to just round shapes to show off the pattern. The same pattern can look different in a circle versus a heart!
Textures similarly have many possibilities. You can use a myriad of products to highlight texture. The bronze heart shows a simple wood texture with gold paint in the recesses. You can get this effect by covering the baked piece with paint and then wiping off the excess on the high spots. I followed a similar process for the bronze necklace piece, but used Vintaj patina inks in a variety of greens for a verdigris like effect. I love the aged vintage look this creates!
Another one of my favorite ways to highlight texture is using mica powder. You can add mica (or any other medium) to the high spots or low spots for a totally different effect. I like using strips of color for a blended or rainbow effect. I think it works particularly well with this chevron pattern!
You can use tinted liquid clay on a textured surface to create a remarkable ceramic look. I mixed white Premo with Grey Granite as a base for these pieces and textured a sheet of clay with some of my favorite patterns from the new Sculpey texture sheets. Once cut and baked, I stirred in some Adirondack alcohol ink with Liquid Sculpey Clear and gently “scraped” some liquid clay across the surface. I like going for a blended effect here as well. The lacy hearts were my favorite from the batch!
I hope I’ve given you some ideas on how to use textures and silkscreens in a number of different ways! You can always combine texture and silkscreens in the same piece for even more variation. I had so much fun playing with the new silkscreens and textures from Polyform for this article! Grab a silkscreen or two and try it out for yourself!