Perhaps one of the most enjoyable things about working with clay is the broad range of techniques that can be used to create new and exciting decorative designs. One artist who might agree is Brooklyn-based ceramicist Jon Van Patten (aka JVP Wares) who hand-crafts one-of-a-kind ceramic vases that feature minimalist, geometric patterns, created using blue masking tape.
The clever technique involves placing thin strips of tape in geometric patterns around the curved vessels, which act as a mask against coloring and glazing. Once glazed, Patten carefully removes the tape, revealing crisp, raw ceramic lines. To create a subtler look, the artist occasionally uses a second glaze to darken the raw unglazed pattern, resulting in a two-tone effect.
Patten posts behind-the-scenes videos on Instagram, showing the satisfying process of peeling the tape in preparation for the final firing stage. Once removed from the kiln, the color stays neutral on the places where the tape once was, providing beautiful contrast to the rich colors, which range from traditional brown glazes to matte gradients in rainbow hues. The ceramicist reveals: “I seek to let these pieces be exactly as they come to me, without too much judgement while hopefully maintaining a sense of playful discovery in the midst of improvisational guiding and intuitive exploration throughout the process of creation.”
Follow Patten on Instagram to see more of his designs, and find out more about his technique.