Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Tree Motif: from Paint to Plaque

(Tree motif in acrylics and translated into clay plaque.)

Mad as a March hare; that’s what it’s been like these past two weeks. March always seems full of birthdays (including my own) which is partly why it’s been a while since I’ve blogged. But in between opening presents or sending them in the post I’ve managed to make quite a few pots.

Since making my teapot I’ve made 4 jars with lids, 4 mugs, 4 salt and pepper bowls, 4 small jugs, 4 large jugs, 2 napkin rings, 2 coasters, 1 incense burner, countless buttons and a small plaque. Some of these are part of an order but the plaque was something I stumbled across when I had a bit of clay left over at the end of the day. Usually I try to use all the clay I’ve prepared during a making session and create a least something however tiny or odd rather than just chucking the leftovers in the reclaim bucket. So I was on the point of making some buttons out of it when instead I decided to do some ‘doodling’.

As is usually the case with these things, I had a huge amount of fun scratching away at the leatherhard clay trying out little designs and re-working them until I finally decided on the ‘tree’ design shown in the photo above. The plaque is only small – not much bigger than a credit card size and deliberately uneven around the edges; in fact it retains the same shape and size of the original piece of clay left over - except for some smoothing. It’s made from stoneware and on the reverse I added a small lug so a piece of wire or twine can be threaded through the hole in the back for hanging.

The design itself is a motif I’ve used before in some of my paintings: and a detail of one example can be seen on the left in the photo above. This painting was from a series of designs inspired by autumn colour – hence the lovely intense orange. It’s a mixed media painting on watercolour grade paper using acrylics and pastels. It’s more of a reference piece rather than a finished work - but the design translates to clay extremely well I think. Of course my next dilemma is how to glaze this piece. Unlike the painting – where the motif and colour are one and the same – I now have to decide whether to glaze in one single colour, letting the motif show through, or follow the motif with coloured glazes. Decisions, decisions.

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