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!
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!Finished articles.
Transfer placement on the twice fired earthen ware platter.
The original peacock painting.
Platters; Hand decorated and bisque fired and waiting for glaze and peacocks.
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.
The idea is then sketched straight onto the slip painted earthenware, using a build up of coloured underglaze layers…
…and then the image is defined by picking out sharply contrasting sgraffito lines, below.
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.
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):
Raw unfired illustrated cup, using a combination of slips, underglazes and sgraffito marks:Bisque-fired bowl, ready to be glazed – here the colours start to show more true:
Starting to explore more botanical ideas on my illustrated earthenware. Just enjoying picking up on what’s around me as I walk around the studio, it may be in Barton Hill but there are still loads of spring blossom trees and other inspirations… this is a little apple blossom journey that turned into a couple of mini espresso cups and will be rolled out onto bowls etc if the design works well after glazing…
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:
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!
…well, pottery has been a productive heave-ho today. always late. always hurrying. always have a million ideas and not enough time – I need a tardis spacer to make 3 hours stretch into an eternal pottery studio moment… Anyway, back to reality. Excitingly, I’ve been invited to produce a collection of pots to display in the folkhouse vitrines by mid-Feb. So… I’m working quickly (naturally) on getting as many ideas onto clay as possible – the first set is a build on my Christmas pot series of oranges and flowers.
Fruit… there will eventually be oranges, lemons, grapes, cherries, watermelon and peapods ( not exactly fruit but such a satisfying shape to draw ). So here’s a taste of the first few, all ready to get their first firing.
Embarking on drawings last year… trying to remember what it was like to produce pictures that felt good. Some birds happened…. and I like them. I think both of them capture an idea of freedom – freedom to see the world as you want, freedom to fly in whatever situation you are in, freedom to take the best from everything…. some ideas I needed to engage with, and its good to be reminded of them now and again. So here are the blackbird and the collared dove.