A very brief history~>                                                                                                                        (as it relates to ceramics, though sgraffito as a technique also exists in painting & glass as well)


Sgraffito evolved in the tenth century from slipped glazed wares with color splashes, but its origin is still debated among scholars. Derived from an Italian term that means “scratched,” sgraffito refers to the technique used to design the decorations.  Some say it comes from Islāmic descent, whereas others insist its roots are from Africa or Japan.

In pottery, the technique is created by painting the form with a white or colored slip & scratching it to reveal the clay color underneath.  Work produced by Islāmic potters was common throughout the middle east. The 18th-century scratch blue class of English white stoneware is decorated with sgraffito patterns touched with blue. Sgraffito ware was produced as early as 1735 by German settlers in colonial America.

Sgraffito pottery was once considered to be the vessels of kings, but later adorned the homes of many Europeans.

325px-363px-valencia-lustre hispano

This bowl is 18″ in diameter and was thrown from a terra cotta clay. A white slip was then applied and designs carved using the sgraffito technique, the brown and white part of this design being the sgraffito portion. Then  overglazes of cobalt and lusters were applied to complete the design.


Native American Sgraffito

native american sgraffito

Japanese Sgraffito

best-mid-century-modern-signed-japanese-ikebana-studio-pottery-vase-w-sgraffito-4ff73dc2316318531b967432cbaf3522Czech Republic Sgraffito on Buildings

Sgraffito Facade Schwarzenberg Palace Prague Czech Republic yooniqimages

Other architectural sgraffito


For this investigation you will explore sgraffito further, as it relates to dreams.   The piece needs to be a minimum of 7″ and the scratched out design needs to be drawn & approved ahead of time.  It should show fairly even areas of light and dark.

Objective: to create an interpretation of your dreams (either from sleep or for the future) by using the sgraffito method of design.  The form & design should both relate to the dream.

Student examples from previous sgraffito projects:



sgraffito lessons18