linocuts_620One of the things I really like about clay is how easily it meshes with printmaking, another art form I really dig. I remember making linocut prints back in grade school art class with Mrs. Duffy. It was one of my favorite projects and perhaps where my love of printmaking and texture first emerged.
In today’s post, Annie Chrietzberg explains how potter Cynthia Guajardo mixes linocut printing with clay. It’s a fantastic method for creating repeatable customized texture on pottery. – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.


Making Linocuts


“Printmaking was my other love in art school,” says Cynthia Guajardo. She uses a simple and direct printer’s method of carving into linoleum, then using the linocut to impress a slab of clay. “Making a linoleum cut and creating your own personal patterns is gratifying and easy,” she says, and “the tools and supplies can be found anywhere fine art supplies are sold.”


Carving into linoleum is a great way to create your own texture mats.

Cynthia prefers Golden Cut linoleum, which she buys online from Dick Blick. “Some of my classmates in college even used regular linoleum flooring scraps, which can be acquired for free from flooring stores, building sites, friends and basements.” She purchases larger pieces and then cuts them into the desired shape, combining texture tool and template.



The Best of Two Worlds!
Learn more techniques for combining printmaking and pots with Ceramic Transfer Printing
in the Ceramic Arts Daily Bookstore!



For the carving, you can buy inexpensive linoleum carving tools where you purchase your lino mats, but Cynthia recommends acquiring woodcarving tools if you have the budget. “Woodcarving tools are much better than the cheap linoleum carving tools you can find for beginners. Palm grip tools can be found at specialty wood carving and printmaking stores,” she said.


linocuts_01The other things you need you probably already have: a pencil, an eraser, a Sharpie, an X-Acto knife and a cutting mat to protect your table. And she offers some wise advice: “Caution! These tools are sharp – always cut away from your body, not just away from your hand and fingers. I say this from experience!”


Linocuts_finishedShe also says that a bench hook is especially useful for people new to carving linoleum. This Z-shaped piece of metal hooks over the edge of your table, and securely holds your work as you carve. She adds that warming the linoleum briefly in a microwave for a few seconds makes it easier to carve!


Cynthia first sketches her design onto the linoleum with a pencil then holds it up to a mirror to see what the design will look like in clay. Once she’s satisfied with her drawing, she goes over it with a Sharpie then proceeds with the carving. She counsels, “if you make a mistake, try to incorporate it into your design. Don’t worry about small accidental surface scrapes – they won’t show up in clay.”


Be sure to download your free copy of Three Great Pottery Decorating Techniques: A Guide to Sgraffito, How to Make and Use Terra Sigillata, and Creating and Coloring Highly Textured Surfaces.

To learn more about Annie Chrietzberg, please visit
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