Letter imPressed is a new line of pottery I am working on that stemmed from the practice of letter pressing. In fact, I was inspired by my friend Margaret Sanford, who is an amazing letter press artist, graphic designer, knitter, etc. She created my wedding invitations and has done many others and they keep getting better and better. I love seeing the different fonts, designs, colors, and layouts she comes up with. Definitely check out her site here! I have never actually done letter press (unless silkscreening is part of that), but the medium has made me aware of incorporating fonts and text with design. I love fonts and the idea of creating my own font. It is easy to do with pencil and paper, but quite a different task in clay. I wanted to create a line of pottery that used letters, numbers and symbols to adorn pots or simply stand alone on a mug or bowl. I have started with mugs. One letter per mug.
Not exactly “Letter Press”, but this idea came from the medium and I spun it my way. Another feature I like about letter press is the ability to take layers of design/detail and turn it into one cohesive image. In a 3D form, those layers are set apart rather than flattened, to create the final image (mug, glaze, button stamp, letter). This has been a fun project and I have a lot of ideas to try, other than mugs. If you have any ideas – please feel free to send them my way! I love to brainstorm new ideas!
The first part of this project was to create ceramic stamps of my letters and numbers. I carved each letter (upper and lower case as well as numbers) into small blocks of clay. Once these hardened, they were thrown into the kiln to bisque. Once they were bisqued, I took soft clay and pressed them into their mold to form the raised letters as a stamp. Those were also bisque fired once they dried out.
For the shapes added to the mugs I used fondant cutters. The raised stamp will be waxed and left free of glaze with just a wash of red iron oxide over it to draw out the letter. The rest will be crystalline glazed. I think it will really make the letters stand out. I am excited to see these in their final state! Margaret, I would love to hear your ideas!