The Process of the Clay Monoprint
To make a Clay Monoprint we use an unfired clay matrix or base, and colors mixed from pure pigments and a fine clay powder. The image on the matrix is transferred by hand with a brayer to fabric. The fabric, Reemay, has industrial uses in filters and other products. The clay and pigment adhere to this fabric permanently. Other fabrics such as shantung silk and papers such as sandpaper can be printed on. Paper tends to dissolve with the high water-content of the clays.
Images can be made using transfers, stencils, direct marks, small clay pieces embedded in the matrix, any number of inventive ways. After the image is printed, the clay and pigment are pulled onto the Reemay, and only one print of a kind is possible, therefore it is known as a monoprinting technique.
After the prints dry we water seal them to maintain the vibrant colors and assure the longevity of the artwork.
For more information and videos on clay monoprinting, see the website of Mitch Lyons, who created and generously taught the technique until his passing in 2018.
And how did clayprint earrings come about? When monoprints are mounted on wood panels, colorful remnant pieces cut from the sides beg to be used. We began making these pieces into clayprint beads, combining the art of reuse and recycling with wire-wrapping techniques from jewelry crafts. These featherweight originals are on sale at craft shows (see events) in the Bay Area and through this website.