Hand Built Sgraffito Carved Pottery by Carol Ross

St Louis, Missouri · 1122 Sales


Hand Built Sgraffito Carved Pottery by Carol Ross

St Louis, Missouri 1122 Sales On Etsy since 2011

5 out of 5 stars

Announcement   My pottery is hand built and carved. No two pieces are exactly alike and I think of my work as perfectly imperfect. Have a good time - please write with questions!


Last updated on Dec 24, 2016

My pottery is hand built and carved. No two pieces are exactly alike and I think of my work as perfectly imperfect. Have a good time - please write with questions!

Carol Ross

Contact shop owner

Carol Ross

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Average item review
5 out of 5 stars

beauclare on May 20, 2017

5 out of 5 stars

The flower pot is absolutely charming with bugs everywhere, even a caterpillar on the bottom of the dish. I love it! It will be a happy home for my plant and I'll enjoy looking at it for years to come. Thanks, Carol!

Jennifer Dodd

Jennifer Dodd on May 15, 2017

5 out of 5 stars

I purchased a custom piece from this seller – a large pot with blue flying pigs, and an orange interior. It came within the promised time frame for custom pieces. The piece is absolutely gorgeous in person, looking very rustic with peeks of the orange showing up throughout. It is a beautiful conversation piece and I am looking forward to purchasing more items from this shop for gifts.

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Otomi Vase in great colors, buyer's choice! Yay!
I made these two mugs as a Custom Order; the buyer wanted a bright blue background on one and turquoise on the other! I think they're great!
These mugs, in a range of different colors, are NOW IN STOCK!
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Handmade Pottery for Everyone!

As I drink my coffee from another potter's handmade mug, I'm having a conversation with the mug's maker. I'm learning about intentions and about challenges met and overcome. I can begin to understand that potter's thoughts on design and color, and about whether the maker is concerned with my comfort and pleasure. You know, we chat, the mug, the maker and I. And that is satisfying.

I am delighted to make my work with my hands, knowing that soon it will be in your hands.

And I do literally hand build my pieces, from slabs. There is often some wonkiness that comes with slab construction, some warping. A mug might be out of round, a bowl might have a high side - flaws that keep us aware of the tenuous cooperation between clay and maker!

Perfectly imperfect!

The technique that I use to decorate my work is called sgraffito.

sgraffito |zgräˈfētō, skrä-|
noun ( pl. sgraffiti |-tē| )
a form of decoration made by scratching through a surface to reveal a lower layer of a contrasting color, typically done in plaster or stucco on walls, or in slip on ceramics before firing.

When the clay reaches an almost dry stage, I brush on as many as six coats of underglaze. That gives the piece its color, usually its single color. I sketch images and patterns onto the underglaze with a pencil; when I'm satisfied, I carve away the background and expose the white clay body and the image. I love to draw and find that the intensely detailed carving that comes after is meditative. It's a slow process that is fascinating.

My inspiration comes from ethnic folk art. When I'm not in the studio, I spend hours looking at images of vintage folk art. I make sketches, seeing how things fit together and produce a certain rhythm and story and humor. Humor is a critical element - I want to giggle at least a little as I work!

I opened TheClayBungalow so that I could share the work that I love making. I hope the work will evolve, as my thinking and aesthetic are affected by what I see. I love hearing from you, please keep emailing; it's the beginning of our conversation!


Shop members

  • Carol Ross

    Owner, Maker

    I grew up in the '50's, the days of frozen vegetables, home milk delivery and imported Japanese everything. And, I loved to draw - people, landscapes, nicknacks - anything that caught my eye.

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More information

Last updated on Feb 13, 2017
Frequently asked questions

Custom and personalized orders

I'm happy to work with you so that I create a piece you'll love! Please send me an Etsy convo and let's talk about it!

Wholesale availability

Yes! My work is available at wholesale prices for galleries and stores. Send me an email or convo for terms, etc.

Currently, I have pieces at:

The Salmon Gallery, Trumansberg, New York
The Palace, Portland, Oregon
Gallery Route One, Port Reyes Station, California
The Garden Gate Shop, MO Botanical Garden, St. Louis, Missouri
Java Junction, Madrid, New Mexico
Bee and Laurel Art and Antiques Gallery

What if my purchase arrives damaged?

We do our best to make sure nothing is damaged. In spite of that, if something arrives broken, please let me know immediately. Everything we ship has been insured, so please KEEP THE BOX AND ALL PACKING MATERIALS SO THEY CAN BE INSPECTED BY THE SHIPPING COMPANY!

Shipping Costs Seem High - Why so much?

Ceramic items are fragile, so of course I pack with this in mind. You know that once a package is out of my hands, it won't be handled with loving care until it reaches your door!

I buy bubble wrap, packing peanuts and box that are not available through USPS. I double box whenever needed, to add extra cushioning for multiple items and large pieces.

I'm a little wounded every time something I've made arrives broken and we strive to prevent that. This is why the shipping costs are so high.

Once the piece is packed and weighed, I will refund any shipping overcharge over $2