Each semester, I'm trying to learn a new technique in my enameling class. This week, I made two red and black sgrafitto pendants: one with red and black spirals and one with a red and black geometric pattern:
Sgraffito basically involves laying down one color of enamel, then adding a coat with a different color; before heating the fine glass powder and making the top coat harden, you use something sharp (like a piece of wire or as I used a sharp wooden stick) to carve out a design. You can then see the color of the undercoat beneath. It's a really cool way to show a contrast between colors and make up a funky pattern.
What's funny is that I didn't even realize that what I was doing had a name. I explained my idea to my teacher and she was like, "Oh, that's sgraffito." And here I thought I was being so clever, LOL!
To highlight the contrast between the red and black, I slightly underfired the black layer. I usually keep pieces this size (these squares are about an inch in height and width) in the kiln for a minute, but I took these out at only 40 seconds. The enamel is still hard, but it has a rougher texture; it's not quite as shiny as the red beneath. I like that it looks slightly raw and unfinished; I think that it adds some more depth to the design and makes it easier to see the different layers.
I need to make some more large show pieces (happily I've sold most of mine!) and have an idea for a sgraffito bib necklace. Sometimes I wish I had my enameling class every day because I'm anxious to get to work on it.