Monday, May 23, 2011

Another Path

 So one of the things I have been studying a lot lately are those amazing damask wallpapers. I have completely fallen in love with them!

I have been curious about pattern and itching to decorate my new line of work and thought I'd try my hand at damask. I did a bunch of research over the internet, studied patterns, and stumbled across a tutorial on how to design your own damask. The tutorial was for using Photoshop, which I don't have, but gave the gist of things. It broke down the damask patterns into triangles, and once you have your basic shape, its just a matter of filling in the sections. Using this as a starting point, I came up with a simple damask pattern to use with my own work.

Now for the hard part: how to use that pattern. One of the things I like about many of these damask wallpapers is the tone-on-tone colors. So I began thinking about how I could use that approach with my slate matte glaze, and how I could pair that with some decoration in a darker black. This would keep the pattern subtle, and understated.

I thought a good place to start would be with my black underglaze, either under or over my slate matte. Okay. So now how to put it there.

I picked up a little trick from Scott Barnim who uses a hot pin tool to carve his own sponges for decorating his work and thought that not only would this be fun to try, but it would help create some soft lines, so I set out to transfer my damask pattern to a piece of foam that I could use as a stamp.

I  can tell you that burning foam is absolutely, utterly nauseating. A mask is most definitely required. And a WELL ventilated space. LOTS of open windows. And LOTS of air flowing through the room. Anything that smells that disgusting has GOT to be pretty toxic.

So anyways, here's how things went down. First I scanned my damask image into the computer then blew it up to the size I was after. I cut this pattern out with an exacto to make a stencil so I could copy this image to my foam and then I ever-so-patiently heated and re-heated my pin tool and slowly burned away the foam to create my stamp.


So the stamp works! Now to give it a try over and under some glaze! Stay tuned!


  1. Melissa, that's a great idea for creating a foam application tool for glazing. I like certain aspects of Damask designs as well. I'm sure I've subcutaneously have used them in my work, too.

  2. wow! what a process! i am so excited to see how these turn out. so so cool!