Texture Without Texture Sheets

There’s nothing wrong with using texture sheets. I certainly use them. However, when you use a texture sheet, your pieces will have the exact same texture as many other people’s work. There are many ways to add texture to your work without using texture sheets, which makes your textures truly one-of-a-kind. I’m going to describe two of them.

The simplest one is to use syringe (on silver) to draw a design. While syringe looks simple, there are several tricks. The first is to be sure the tip of your syringe is damp, but not too damp. I achieve this by dipping the tip of the syringe in water, and then wiping it almost dry before I use it. The reason for this is that, if the tip is slightly damp, the syringe will come out in a straight line. If the tip is completely dry, there will be a slight curl to the syringe. The second trick is to (usually) not place syringe directly on the greenware. If you let the syringe tip touch the greenware, your drawing will be bumpy and uneven. If that’s the effect you want, great. If you want the drawing to be smooth, hold the syringe tip a few millimeters above the damp greenware (if the greenware is slightly damp, the syringe will stick better). Let the syringe drop onto the greenware as you draw. When you are through with a line, let the tip lightly touch the greenware. That will break the line of the syringe.

As an example, I made a pendant with silver clay. I cut out a left shape, and placed a bezel cup in the middle. I used syringe to draw the veins of the leaf. After firing, brushing, tumbling, and patinaing, I added an amber stone to finish the piece. The coin is for scale.


Another way to add unique texture is by slip dragging. While the clay is still wet, saturate a brush with slip. Drag the brush over the wet clay. The slip will stay behind in an interest rough texture. You can modify this texture, before the slip dries, by using a clay shaper. Don’t have a clay shaper? A toothpick will do the job too!

As an example, I made a pair of earrings with a bezel cup for stone. While the clay was still wet, I loaded a brush with slip, dragged it over the piece, shaped the slip with a clay shaper, and then let the earrings dry. I finished them as usual. I fired, brushed, tumbled, and patinated. Then I added two blue topazes. The finished pieces are below. The coin is for scale.

20190319_123723 (002)

There are many ways of achieving texture — directly sculpting with clay shapers, using natural objects to make impressions in the clay, making molds from other objects. There’s nothing wrong with texture sheets. But there’s also nothing wrong with letting yourself experiment with textures that will be yours and no one elses!

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