In Italian, “sgraffito” translates as “to scratch.” Ceramicists and sculptors use sgraffito tools to create intriguing effects by scratching through different colorful layers of material, such as clays, slips, glazes, and plaster, to reveal a lower layer. The contrast within the layers is striking. Ceramicists scratch through slips and glazes on leather-hard clay. Sgraffito tools are also used to incise layers of plaster for decorative stucco walls and fresco paintings. Ribbon-loop tools incise through the layers using wire loops; styluses have thin wire loops that cut more precisely than ribbon loops; others are needles that scratch precise lines. Spatulas and scoopers create nuanced marks and help shape wet forms. Paint brushes and rubber shapers are used to remove unwanted material.
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