Gotta love underglazes. At the Steve Allen workshop where I learned about using a stencil made on the Thermofax machine, I was told to use dry mason stain, wear a face mask, and don’t touch the line even after the piece is bisqued because the stain will smear. That’s a lot of steps and restrictions so I tried using a black underglaze and slightly stiff brush on the stencil and it works fine – and without the mask – And there is no smearing which will make it easy to add color.
I only made a couple pages of images at the workshop and I have, um, misplaced one of those . To get more images I need a Thermofax machine which is hopelessly expensive, but when I went to get my tattoo last summer (which is a sweet or amusing or ridiculous story depending on your point of view- read on), I noticed that they have one, in fact all the tattoo places have one or something like that to make a stencil for transferring a design from paper to skin. I keep thinking that I will find a tattoo artist to make some screens for me, but I haven’t asked any yet so I don’t know if they would or what they would charge. It’s on my master “to do” list which is a start.
Anyway, I transferred this design and then turned the slab over onto a plaster hump mold so I could add a foot.
The tattoo story: When youngest daughter was about 5 she got her first henna tattoo. She was so dismayed when it wore off after a couple of days that I bought her a henna kit for her sixth birthday and drew a lotus blossom on the back of her hand. We were both delighted. Every few months I would squeeze out a flower onto the back of her hand when I had the time or inclination. Then she would dab it with lemon juice and keep her hand in one position till her skin turned a reddish-brown under the dried paste.
This went on for years. Almost always the same design but as time went on the designs got bigger and the vines would travel down her fingers or up her arm. Around middle school, she started drawing on herself, but always the lotus flower. And at the some point she started lobbying for a real tattoo. The answer was always – when you turn 18 it’s up to you if you can pay for it.
A year ago she was ready with the location (her foot), design (lotus and vines, of course), tattoo artist (well- researched), and cash (not cheap), but started lobbying for something else – that I get one with her. I was really touched by the sentiment, but I am too damn old for a tattoo. And besides, needles?? No thank you.
She is a patient and persistent girl and somehow, and I’m still surprised about this, after about 6 months, I said “OK” but just a tiny one. Hers is beautiful. Mine is simple and small, but every time I see it, I think of her and it is sweet.
When we took in our design, Rob, the chosen tattoo guy, had to shrink down the lotus picture and then make stencils to position them and I had just done the workshop and we talked thermo imaging machines to get my mind off the needle stabbing my ankle.