Leaf imprint pottery  is a very common decorative technique that consists of applying another object on the piece that will leave its imprint or mark on it.

Different utensils are used and frequently they are objects provided by nature itself, such as leaves from trees or parts of their bark, flowers, etc.

It is also very common to leave an imprint of our babies’ hands and feet as a souvenir and then bake the piece.

In some cases we can also speak of embedding, which is when the object is left already attached to the surface, for example, when we embed glass pebbles or other small objects.

With the printing technique an infinity of textures and beautiful shapes can be achieved. The drawing that we create has to be achieved through the fixed application of the object using pressure on the piece, that is to say, it is not scratched or drawn with any object, in this case we would be talking about incised decoration.

Printed pottery with leaves

Leaf imprinted bowls, a very nice work by Silvina Cardone of “Jardín Interior Cerámica”.



How to find inspiration to find beautiful motifs for our pottery pieces?

Well, there are many ways to do it. One is: if instead of trying to get inspired in front of our pot, vase, cup…, whatever, we leave it and take a walk around our house.

Why not go, for example, to the kitchen? There we can find plenty of ideas: a grater, a rolling pin, whipping sticks, cutlery, coasters… In the rest of the house or in the storage room we are sure to have many objects that will give us ideas of what to use. For example, a rope wrapped around a vase can create a beautiful effect, which is not a new idea at all, but has been done for thousands of years, it is what is known as corded pottery.

leaf imprint pottery

Leaf imprint pottery by Corneli Studio



Well, the technique is simple, you just have to apply the right pressure to mark the shape, however, you have to be careful that certain objects remain stuck to the clay. Let’s imagine that we are decorating a vessel with very thin leaves or a little dry, it may happen that they remain adhered and when we want to remove them we have to remove them, spoiling the drawing. To avoid this, a layer of an oily material can be used to prevent them from adhering, taking into account that later there will be a firing and this liquid when subjected to high temperatures can generate an effect that either we like, as happens in certain beautiful “accidents” during the firing, or not. There are also those who cover the piece with plastic wrap, but the imprint left by some objects will not have as much resolution or detail.

In the case of pieces that are flat, such as a tile, we can use a kitchen rolling pin, to which more things can be adhered or to which a pre-carving can be done, to create a nice pattern.

Ahora bien, la palabra impresión en cerámica también tiene acepciones diferentes no tan tradicionales como la que hemos explicado y que pasamos a contarte ahora.

Leaf imprint ceramic mugs

Leaf imprint ceramic mugs by Doore Ceramics

You can see this video about pottery with leaves print



This type of printing is perhaps better known since it is to capture an image on the piece already fired using a printer like the ones we know to work with paper, but adapted to this type of objects, it is also sometimes called “photoceramic”, since it is very common to capture photos as a souvenir for example in a cup or a tile.

Sometimes thermo-sensitive pigments are used and what is a white cup, when pouring the water that has served for our favorite tea shows us an image that we did not see before, this type of objects became quite fashionable a few years ago.


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