My birthday present from my fiance this year was that he purchased me an unfinished yarn bowl (for my knitting) and studio time at the Ceramic Cafe - this great little pottery place in Overland Park, KS. I'm not much of a painter; there's this misconception that if you're an artist you just do ALL the art things... but paint is messy. I want to always have control over my piece of art as it happens. I watch tons of process videos on YouTube where artists are slapping paint around and paint on top of paint and wiping it back off and they'll get it looking beautiful and then volcano-blast the whole painting with black and then pull the painting back from the grips of destruction to be even *more* beautiful... but yeah. Not me. I don't like my process to be that exciting; I much prefer to sit and stew in my Type A personality while making 1,200 controlled and perfect little penciled hatch marks.
|Think... think... think.|
|This is 'frisket'. You need this.|
I took my reference photo and put a piece of double stick tape on it, and then stuck down the frisket (still on its backing paper - you don't want to peel that off yet!) on top of it. Ideally, you'd have a light table with a glass cutting board to use for the step of cutting out your image... but if you don't, take a sharpie and put the frisket/photo on your window. Use the sunlight to see where to trace the outline of what you want to cut out, and THEN cut around it with a sharp craft knife. (You can use scissors, but the frisket is stretchy and delicate at the same time and if the scissors aren't sharp and perfect you can stretch and tear the frisket.)
|Now you have a plastic stencil cut-out of your photo! SELF HIGH FIVE!|
|This plastic stencil of a skull is going to keep my pottery white where|
I want the skull to be, and let me paint all around it as sloppy/fast as I want.
Cutting thin strips of frisket is good for borders, stripes, patterns, etc. Applying the frisket with a decal spreader (tool shown in the photo - basically a piece of firm rubber with a handle attached) is also a good idea for a nice smooth edge. If you don't have one of those (who does?) then don't worry - just use your fingers to press down any air bubbles.
|Pottery before being fired in the kiln.|
|Notice how pale and blah the colors are? They won't be after they're fired.|
I painted the inside of my bowl black, and then peeled up the frisket skull to reveal the unpainted white surface underneath. When it's fired, whatever wasn't painted will be a bright white.
To summarize the painting application on the outside of the bowl, I painted the blue sky first. Then I peeled away all the strips that I'd cut for grass/leaves and painted the newly exposed areas green. Next I peeled away the flower stencils and painted those a creme color. Then I peeled away the rat shapes, leaving them white. Going back in with a detail color, I outlined everything in a darker red (which hides a multitude of sins where the colors maybe met up messily). Lastly, I peeled away the stripes for the border to leave nice, crisp lines around my artwork.
I'm going to leave you with the best, most true tip I read on paint application: 1 coat = transparent / 2 coats = streaky / 3 coats = opaque.
Good luck on your pottery painting projects and I hope this maybe gave you a new technique to consider!