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Friday, December 6, 2013

Insights from the World of Scratchbord, Part 2

Gold Ring,  20" x 16"
Part One from artist Lisa Goesling:  Insights from the World of Scratchbord

The man responsible for the beloved Scratchbords is Renaissance man, Charles Ewing. He’s lived all over the world, immersing himself in diversity and allowing it to saturate his art, charlesewing.com. Charles served in the Peace Corps as an artist documenting wildlife in Chile. Someone suggested that he might enjoy scratchboards, so when he returned to the states, he checked them out.

He didn’t like the existing material. “It had limitations in terms of size, and strength, and had to be preserved under glass.” A costly mishap with the mediocre scratchboards of the day, forced him to lose a sale. The glue holding the cardboard scratchboard to the Masonite softened in the sun creating a bubble that couldn’t be flattened. Frustrated, he set out to create a better substrate.
Humility II,  20" x 16"

His first attempt was a success. Charles applied clay with a binder to a hard board, and added some ink; the medium could get wet but never dissolved, it was perfect!


At the time, he was living in Colorado, a few farms away from Elaine Salazar. She was working towards her MBA at the University of Texas and looking for a good product to feature for a business project. Charles invited her to his workshop to see his new invention and she fell in love with the idea.

She wasn’t the only one. Elaine stood before a board of investors whose sole purpose was to critique each product. After she finished, one of the investors stood up and said, “Ok, I am in!”

Cleaning God's House,  24" x 18"
That is how Ampersand Art, and its signature Claybords were born. The white porcelain boards covered in black ink are now called Scratchbords and the plain white porcelain clay boards are still referred to as Claybord™. Charles works with the latter. “The black and white pieces seen on my website were done using India ink on the Claybords. I start drawing with soft graphite easily erasing with fine steel wool as I change the composition. When satisfied, I begin applying ink washes, gradually going darker as the image progresses. At any time in the process, I can scratch or abrade the ink off of the white clay surface, creating sharp or broad highlights.”

Kale Vendor,  20" x 16"
Charles continues to work with this medium; “A lot of people find my art intriguing because they have never seen anyone work like this before. It has a certain mystique to it.” Charles has sold his Claybords, Oil Paintings and Bronze Sculptures through many galleries, but now also runs his own. He explained that after years of having someone else sell his art, he has learned that it is so much more rewarding to actually know the person who is buying it. “I really enjoy talking with folks who come by my shop and making a connection. That is what art it is all about, making connections, it’s a really nice experience.”

You can see a lot more of Charles' work on his website, along with his bio and upcoming events: charlesewing.com

Written by Lisa Goesling

Click here to explore the full selection of Ampersand panels and tools.

2 comments:

  1. I am so pleased that you are posting this article, Karyn! I hope that the featured artists see it and feel wonderful about their stories and the incredible art that they create! Thanks so much!

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