I recently invested in the Adobe Suite in hopes of elevating my creative work. It was one of the best creative investments I’ve made in a long time. I did not plan to integrate it into my clay process, but found that Illustrator is a great way to create the patterns I cut my pieces with.
Pattern making in process:
I began with creating shapes in Adobe Illustrator. I wanted to be able to scale them up or down depending on how big I wanted the chain to be. Vector illustration is so great for this.
Next, I created a sample of all the shapes linked together. I wanted to be sure the silhouettes meshed in an attractive and functional way.
I tweaked the shapes a bit, then scaled them up to fit in the center of an 8.5” X 11 sheet of paper. I printed each one, and cut them out. Next, I placed the pattern pieces on slabs of sculptural stoneware and began cutting into the clay. I find it is easiest to cut, dry, and bisque fire the odd links then add the even links when they’re leather hard. Basically, the odd links get fired twice and the even links get fired once. This makes adding the even links easier and the chains chances of breaking, cracking, or warping are far slimmer.
I let the slabs dry for quite a while, bisqued the even links, then cut the odd links and assembled the chain when they were leather hard. The chain turned out pretty beautifully…