Thursday, February 21, 2008

Marbling by ceramicist Sandy Brown

Above: Sculpture by Sandy Brown

Marbling goes back nearly a thousand years, and is thought to have originated in Japan, where one family has been continuously marbling paper for fifty-five generations. The technique can be applied to clay too. One of the main attractions is the fluidity of the patterns. the colours blend and merge yet still remain separate, swirling and whirling and circling.

Potters have always loved the way that you can play with colours in different clays. Then, by cutting and slicing to reveal the coloured layers, and using the slices to build up gentle simple dishes which have deep rhythmic folds in them for example. Potters love that only natural materials that occur in the ground can be used to make clays and glazes: all modern technology and plastics and chemicals are no use. It is only naturally occuring oxides, minerals, rocks and stones that will withstand the heat of the fire. Potters add colbalt oxide to a white clay to give a grey-blue colour, iron oxide makes a rich rusty brown, and copper rust can give a deep, rich green. They build up laminated layers of these coloured clays; the layers can then be folded over onto each other and sliced like bread to show the colours inside.

Taken from 'Resurgence' magazine

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