Froggies Vase by Angela Treat Lyon © '78I’m not sure what year this is from – probably around ’78 or so, since this is stoneware, and I hadn’t switched to porcelain yet.

I went through a big froggies phase – painting them on tiles, vases, mugs, plates and platters – in greens and blacks and browns – not sure why – it was just fun to see how I could fit their funny shaped bodies into a design.

The process I used is called sgraffito – scratching away a certain mix of black underglaze stain on a green (unfired) piece to reveal the clay under it, and then firing the bisque fired pot with a clear glaze.

I invented a tool to use to scratch the black away that sucked up the black dust, so it wouldn’t stain the surface as it fell off the pot.

It was a large fat sewing needle that I ground down to be flat, and then ground the end to be pointed if I held it one way, and like a flat spatula if I held it another, for scratching the black off.

It was attached to a half-inch flexible medical tube that went to an adapter that went to a vacuum cleaner! Lots of noise, but it worked great.

Maybe one day I’ll go back to making pots, or other stuff, out of clay again – it was way fun, and I loved getting my hands dirty all the time!

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