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!
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: