CM: What techniques or procedures do you employ to achieve your
KH: Spontaneity is an important element with my surface design. The use of colored slip as a decorative medium offers me much flexibility. It can be brushed, slipped trailed or used with stencils. Rather than decorate directly on to the assembled vessel I enjoy the freedom to create imagery on the flat slab, as you would a watercolor or illustration. My preferred technique is print transfer on fabric.
Initially I used slip on paper. This is transferred as a monoprint onto a flat slab of clay. Although this process is quite effective, I found that the paper’s fragility and wrinkle potential caused problems. After further experimentation I now use fabric as my transfer base. Although a time consuming method, I have found monoprinting on fabric more forgiving and the fabric can be washed and reused for a new design!
One of the most essential tools I have in my ceramic studio is my sketch pad. This is my starting point for any design work. Hours spent drawing not only help with the final concept but also assist with the fluidity using a slip trailer on fabric. I sketch from memory, from my imagination, from photographs, and also find books and magazines to be useful resource materials. Collected objects such as seaweed, driftwood, and stones can trigger the design process too. A pin board for my drawings enables me to have a record of my recent ideas visually at hand.
Much consideration is given to my compositions, particularly spatial awareness, depth, and movement. I put a lot of thought into my color palette when designing, referring constantly to my colored slip test tiles. If desired, I create a new color rather than limit myself to just the stains available.