Doily ware – handbuilt porcelain

I’m really getting a positive response from people on  my handbuilt porcelain ware.  I use ‘slab-building’ for this (although you could hardly call the sheets of porcelain that I roll out as ‘slabs!’) and press moulding for the bowls.  The techniques, with really thin fine porcelain produce slightly warped pieces – all uniquely shaped but with a strong design which ties them together. The imprinted design, using a vintage lace doily which is first bisque-fired, is hand painted using a variety of oxides and underglazes before firing again with a transparent glaze to create a really vibrant colourful piece… The range is expanding; it’s gone from jugs through teapot stands all the way to limited edition jewel caskets!

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IMG_2563doily mugs

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Beautiful new porcelain ware

Well, I never thought I’d do this, but I’m adding another new string to the bow – to get around the problem of creating greater intricacy on my illustrated pieces I have started to produce hand-applied transfer ware in my studio.  It’s a revelation to have perfect reproductions (or at least when the firings work…!) of my drawings and paintings on porcelain. It works on both stock porcelain and handthrown ware, I have found. So, it can have a more handcrafted feel incorporating hand painting and throwing or a more conventional feel which has its own appeal.

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Tea Towels are all go!

tea towels

Wow, no sooner had I written up the post yesterday about my tea towel experiment being underway, than the very things arrived at my studio…. in an enormous box.  Yikes – I did wonder if I might use them to manufacture endless bedlinen/construct a home/sail across the seven seas as there seemed to be so many of them. But I’m warming to them.

Enjoyed packaging the first few up for sale at The Little Shop in Bristol’s vibrant Stokes Croft arty quarter this morning… and, even better, getting one home to try out 🙂

tea towel in situ

Branching out…

multi peacock towel

Well, much as I am enamoured of the ceramics world… I’ve taken a step into the unknown and started a collection of illustrated tea towels, carrying my original designs, in time for the Christmas market season.

Very excited about this – my stock is due to arrive from Bryan Franks next week and then I will be getting busy packaging them in the pretty wrappers I’ve been designing ready for the first market of the winter – Stroud Farmers’ market on the 1st November.  Going to have to find some suitably placed aga and do a photo shoot of my new products when they get in… hoping they live up to my expectations!

Below are jpegs of the 3 designs currently in production: Peacock Textile; Harvest Swifts and Squirrels and What the Blackbird Saw… all designs ©As the Crow Flies.
harvest teatowel lores blackbird teatowel text

Experimenting with Flamingos

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Genesis of a set of flamingo bowls – a really lovely commission and a fun illustration challenge…

Slides show the journey from initial sketching to slip and sgraffito illustration, freehand onto the earthenware bowls I threw; then the bisque ware and the final glazed result.

Peacock platters

The genesis of a new design… challenged by a friend for a private commision, I was asked to place a favourite painting – my bright peacock – on a serving platter as a special 40th birthday present.  Tricksy… I’ve never made transfer ware before but the result is eye-catching, especially when teamed with hand painted and sgraffitoed edgings. Think I’ll be making more of these little numbers!peacock platter pairFinished articles.

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Transfer placement on the twice fired earthen ware platter.

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The original peacock painting.

peacock plate 1Platters; Hand decorated and bisque fired and waiting for glaze and peacocks.

Botanicals: thistles bespoke

 

 

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The prickly Scottish thistle. A fine prickly challenge… and pleased with the results too. Part of a commissioned body of work, a pair of personalised thistle bowls emerged from the kiln a couple of days back. This was their process: A starting sketch, mainly just out of my imagination after scanning through some photos and vintage wallpaper designs. I find it’s better to draw without pictures for direct reference – a more personal interpretation can be more satisfying. After all, it’s what is signified in my mind that matters as I am aiming for decoration and essence rather than photorealism.

thistle sketch 2The idea is then sketched straight onto the slip painted earthenware, using a build up of coloured underglaze layers…

thistle painted…and then the image is defined by picking out sharply contrasting sgraffito lines, below.

thistle sgraffito

The finished items, you can see the personalisation in the final picture – this was part of a commission for a family of bowls. A lot of good fun work.

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botanicals: freesia

Started off the botanical series with a commissioned freesia design bowl… I really like the sharpness of the design and the colours stand out well. Think this will become a staple of the repertoire. I like working to other people’s design briefs – it makes you sit and think and actually go through the design process in a more focused way. Must be my institutionalised design studio head…

Some preliminary drawing work – you can see the freesia outline design hiding behind the bluebells (they’re next up for immortalisation):
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Raw unfired illustrated cup, using a combination of slips, underglazes and sgraffito marks:freesia cupBisque-fired bowl, ready to be glazed – here the colours start to show more true:freesia bisque

Final glazed version of the bowl:

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Illustrations: peacocks

Fascinated by peacocks for the past few months so I thought I’d post up the work so far to inspire me to finish the journey… some unfinished business with those birdies.  They do present great possibilities for pattern making:peacockstyle lo

All illustrations and photos ©AsTheCrowFlies 2013

And for experimenting in a bit of art nouveau book illustration style, with black and white and watercolour versions… peacock perched peacock watercolour

Aiming to get these or versions of these onto my ceramics in some shape or form – maybe some printed decals to glaze on.
 
Also tried freehand illustrating in majolica on a bowl too, using copper and cobalt oxides, less controllable than pen and ink but a nice effect… more of this to come!
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And it all just started with a little doodlebird:peacock doodle
And ended up a very complicated doodle indeed…
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Pots in disparate styles

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Very tardy in my uploading…. this is all the experimenting I did last term with some new styles and glazes.  Pleased with some of them and some I will develop further I think… Planning some blue and white majolica for this term with a peacock design as a move on from swirly florals. Oranges, as you can see from previous post, have been pushed on to include many other fruits… Loving the blue metallic effect but that may have been an accidental triumph as it should have been dark blue as far as I can remember!