Ever roll out a texture in your clay and think “wow, that isn’t what it is suppose to look like”? Well you are not alone. So how do you get nice crisp textures into our clay? A little bit of planning helps.
What does your texture look like? Is it shallow and subtle or deep and dramatic? What results do you want? Are you going for a hint of texture or a bold statement? The answers will help you determine how thick to roll out the clay before applying the texture
Generally, when we are adding texture, we roll our clay out one, two, or three cards thicker than if we were going to leave the clay without a texture. If you have a deep texture you are working from, each of these will give you a different result. This is where you get to play a bit and find the results you like.
With increasing the number of additional cars you will get a deeper impression with your texture. But, remember, it can only go as deep as the texture you are using. so if you are using a shallow brass plate, then rolling two cards thicker is only going to make it more difficult to get a good impression.
With brass plates the texture is very subtle. The first time you often wonder if it is even going to show up after the piece is fired… it does. When rolling out for a brass plate I add one card to my stack.
Fresh clay and a non-stick product also helps to make the process much easier and gives a cleaner impression. I like using Cool Slip by Cool Tools. It is a silicon based product. Just don’t spray it where it will mist onto your hardwood or linoleum floors as they will become very slick.
Start with rolling out a nice consistent sheet of clay. It should be consistent like silver or copper sheet.
Do not roll across the texture more than once. This is the main reason echoes appear in the texture. They can also appear when you have too thick a sheet of clay to start with. When rolling, I generally begin in the middle and roll out one direction and then roll the other half.
Some people find it better to roll from one end to another in one stroke. This becomes more difficult as the size of the piece becomes larger and you are pushing more clay across the top of the texture. Work with this a bit to see what is best for you.
Another technique to try is a stamping technique. Set up just like you are going to roll your clay on your texture including your cards or slats. Instead of using your roller, use an acrylic plate to press straight down on the clay. Make sure you acrylic is thick enough that it will not bend and will press down consistently over the area until it meets with the cards or slats.
If you are having trouble deciding on texture, use a bit of polymer clay to roll out and test the textures to see what they are going to look like.
Texture is a great way to add interest to your work. Have fun.