Sharon Nelson Pottery
Original Handcrafted Ceramics in Trumansburg, NY

Pottery Galleries

Sgraffito Pottery

(from the Italian word graffiare “to scratch”)

To create sgraffito designs in my pottery I paint many layers of an underglaze color on leather hard porcelain or a white stoneware clay body after it is thrown and trimmed. When the underglaze color has dried, I fit the design I have sketched on paper over the pot and retrace the lines, leaving an impression in the underglaze. From there I use a very small carving tool to scratch through the underglaze revealing parts of the white clay body. The carving process is intricate and takes many hours depending on the design and size of the piece. However, I enjoy this detailed process and the way it translates to the final artistic design of the piece. Following the carving, the piece is bisque fired after which I apply a clear glaze then return the piece to the kiln once more for a glaze firing.

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Carved Pottery

My process for creating carved ceramic pieces begins with throwing a cylinder or bowl on the wheel and then trimming it when it is leather hard. Since the clay is still workable at this point, I either trace over a design that I have previously created on paper or alternatively draw a design freehand onto the white clay body. I use various small wooden and metal carving tools to carve away parts of the clay leaving the design relief raised from the surface of the pot. I use a soft paintbrush to soften the edges of the carving, and then add some small line details to my work. The piece is bisque fired after it dries completely and a transparent celadon glaze is applied by dipping or painting it on the surface. Finally, the piece has a final glaze fire in the kiln. Carving takes many hours to do but I enjoy being able to manipulate the clay to reveal a soft, flowing and pleasing design.

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Glazed Stoneware

Although I am always trying out new glazes, I have three glaze combinations that I especially enjoy using: a deep blue, a red/black combo, and a turquoise. I sometimes apply a latex resist to my first layer of glaze and use a secondary glaze over that to generate more interesting design elements. I enjoy the way this technique creates flowing lines and additional color tones on the entire piece. I make sets of bowls, coffee pour-overs and mugs, tumblers, vases and pitchers as well as lidded pots.

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Shop Red-Black-Themed Glazes

Shop Turquoise-Themed Glazes