Many maiolica designs are made up of repeating geometric motifs. Evenly dividing a round item is a required basic skill. A round piece of pottery can be divided in a number of ways. Other than "eyeballing it", the simplest way to evenly divide a round piece is to:
- Turn the ceramic pot upside down and trace the circumference on a piece of paper.
- Cut out the tracing and fold the tracing into the number of desired sections.
- Using the folded paper as a guide, mark the sections on the ceramic piece with a pencil.
Another way to divide a round piece of pottery is to create a generic circular template using some basic drafting tools -- a compass, a protractor, a ruler and a pencil. A circle is made up of 360°. Considering the even divisors of 360, it is useful to create a circular template that has lines at 5° increments. After using the pouncing technique to transfer the generic pattern grid to a glazed piece of pottery, it is possible to freehand a number of geometric designs.
Geometric graph paper can also be generated for free on the web. Click here to view a compass saved as an Adobe Acrobat file. Check out building your own version at http://www.incompetech.com/graphpaper/
Using a Generic Template
Two of the most common motifs used in maiolica designs, fish scales and the diaper pattern, can be made using the 5° division lines. Common maiolica motifs can be personalized with variations in the fill pattern or colors.
Useful Divisions of a Circle
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