In this three day, two weekend intensive workshop students will explore working with red earthenware and the decorative possibilities of slips, underglazes, and sgraffito. Slip decorating is an extremely old technique, appearing in many cultures around the world throughout history. Sgraffito is the process of incising through the painted slip to reveal the clay underneath and create designs.
Day One: Making
On the first day of the workshop, students will create a variety of slab built and/or wheel-thrown forms. Students with hand-building experience can create slab-built forms, and students who are proficient with the potter’s wheel can create wheel thrown forms. (This class will not focus on teaching these fundamentals, but Tyson will be available to answer questions and demonstrate techniques.) The pieces will dry for a week, and students will use this time at home to sketch and plan the patterns or imagery that they would like translate to surface decoration.
Day Two and Three: Decorating
On days two and three of the workshop, students will decorate their work. Using sketches and gathered imagery as a starting point, they will explore various methods of applying slips and underglazes to clay to convey their ideas. They can use a sgraffito tool to scratch through the slip to create lines, and also experiment with wax resist. The end result will be decorated greenware pieces, ready to be fired and glazed.
Firing and Glazing – Students that have access to a kiln can take their work home to fire on their own, or they can choose to Have Tyson fire and glaze their work for an additional fee.
Students need to bring basic pottery tools – sponges, ribs, etc, plus paintbrushes and plastic palettes for applying slip. In addition each student will need a sgraffito tool (for scratching designs in the dry clay).
Tyson Graham is best known for his colorful Redware pottery depicting the seasonal variations of life and nature in the Foothills. Working primarily with red earthenware and slip decoration, he creates functional pots adorned with flowers, birds, leaves, trees, and musical instruments. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of South Carolina and apprenticed under Claude Graves of Little Mountain Pottery. Outside of the studio, he enjoys playing Old Time music and backpacking the trails of Appalachia. Graham is currently based at Little Mountain Pottery in Polk County, NC.