Monday 16 July 2012

Impression Vases

Impression vase - Birch Tree
I’ve been working on a new range of vases which I’ve called ‘Impression’ vases. The idea is quiet simple really – throw a vase shape and use objects to make impressions and marks in the clay while it’s still soft. These marks are then picked out and made a feature of in the design by using a combination of oxides and glazes brushed over the surface. So today I thought I’d show some photos of one particular vase during making.

Using a pebble to make marks

As you can see, I’ve the placed the vase upside-down on a wooden bat. The vase was thrown the day before this photo and the base lightly turned next day - so the clay is still quite wet. The wooden bat is resting on the wheelhead which I’m using as a banding wheel so I can see all around. And why is it upside-down? Well for some reason it’s easier to see what’s going on! I started making marks at the base of the pot and worked ‘down’ to the rim. This avoids the dangers of marks feeling ‘cramped’ at the base by running out of space and instead allows them to grow naturally ‘up’ the pot. And I’ve used a small beach pebble I’ve had for years. It’s always nice to use natural objects when making.

Oxide detail
I got the idea for this design back in November last year. I was doing a show at Quarr Abbey and in a coffee break I took some photos of the gardens and textures I found in the grounds (see post). The bark on a birch tree was particularly lovely and immediately suggested the idea to me. Of course the markings on birch bark are ‘raised’ rather than indented and the colours are much more subtle than I’ve used here: but I really like the results from this first vase and think I’d like to repeat the motif again on another piece. In the same making session I also decorated more vases using different impressions and marks, but using the same oxides and glazes. I’ve added two of these vases to my Etsy shop so far and will add more soon.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the photos!

Inside vase showing indents