Stamping Patterns into Clay


Ceramic sculpted stamps, Jenna Archer, Calgary, Canada

Last year, I attended a workshop by Sarah Pike, Ceramic Artist from Fernie, BC, who shared handbuilding techniques and surface decoration. I loved how clean she worked as a handbuilder, and the beautiful pieces she created from slabs of clay and handmade stamps.

I recently decided to create my own handmade ceramic stamps that can be pressed into clay to create beautiful texture and patterns. I took some clay out on my patio one warm summer evening and began to sculpt the stamps from small balls of clay - forming them into the desired stamp shape and then carving in the design. I am inspired by nature so the stamps I created are mostly of leaves, clouds, and shells. The process of creating the stamps felt therapeutic, as I was soon lost in the process of creating.

Eager to test out my newly created stamps, I rolled out a few slabs of clay and pressed the stamps into them to reveal the sculpted texture. I love the ability to create a repeating nested pattern with a diamond or half-circle stamps. I also love how this technique can make my pieces unique, as I’ve not only designed the piece but built the texture that I’m applying to my work. All the stamps I’m satisfied with, will be fired in my kiln so they can be kept in my large ceramic toolbox and used repeatedly.

If you’ve seen the wall planters I designed in collaboration with Outside the Shape, I’ve used handsculpted stamps to create the texture and pattern on these pieces. I also use stamps on trays and small plates. I’m excited to see what other ceramic pieces I can build to utilise these beautifully created handmade stamps, and I’m dreaming of all the stamps my imagination can imagine.


Love + Stamping Patterns

Jenna