Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Plate 9 - Iranian dove plate

I do believe I'm at plate nine now. I'm a bit late in posting this one, It's been out of the kiln for two weeks but in my excuse, your honour, is that I've been away on a field trip with the JMSS students to look at Volcanoes in Western Victoria. What could beat volcanos, scoria cones, the 12 apostles and all sorts of funky wildlife? No, not much, especially when you're being paid to examine these things!

So anyway...

This plate is a little bit different from previous plates. Since experimenting with shading and dark-on-light and light-on-dark colour mixing I've been wanting to use the wavy bisque plates again. So I spent alot of time searching the Ashmolean and the Victoria and Albert and the Met Museums. They all have rather good search engines and very varied and beautiful collections. It is sometimes a bit frustraiting trying to find that perfect reference you remember seeing though, so I also suggest getting a Pinterest account.

I found the perfect extant piece for my experiment, no only does it have wavy edges, it also uses alot of green, a colour I've been meaning to experiment with for a while. This dish (figure 1) is from Iran, 14th century. The dish appears to be molded into a wavy, flat bowl shape. Though not a plate, I thought the imagery would convert nicely.

Figure 1: Extant dish from Iran, 14th Century. Beautiful greens and blues. Met Museum, accession number 91.1.185. It was acquired by the museum in 1891.

There are a couple of tricky things on this plate. The first being the solid background of vegetation behind the dove. On past plates I've had trouble with small white gaps appearing when I join two colours. There are three possible causes for this; I don't paint to the edge (pre-school mistake), I overlap the glaze, making it too thick and it pops off in the firing process, or the greylead underneath some shapes causes the glaze not to stick making it shed during firing. The easy solution to two of these uses the information from the drollery plates. I know that to make shading one must place dark on light. So I painted the light leaves first and then filled in the background with dark pigment hoping it would bake over the light pigment and fix cause number one. If cause number two was the case, all my leaves would now have a pretty white outline and I'd learn something new. For cause number three, I decided to risk using an eraser to ensure the greylead was as light as possible and I used pencil sparingly.

Problem number two is the pale blue shading in the border. At times it looks like water colour. This has to result from a single application of glaze which can be hard to apply to large areas. The original also has floral stems in every second edge panel. To ensure the appropriate painting of blue, I painted the stems, then covered the panel with the single layer of blue shading. Pre-firing (figure 2)  it didn't look to good but I was hopefully the drollery experiement result will win though again.

Figure 2: The dove plate pre-firing. The blue decorations on the sides look quite blobby and really detract from the clean lines of the center of the plate.

The firing was a success and I am very pleased with how this plate came out.

 Figure 3: Front of extant plate
Figure 4: Back of extant plate, a simplier floral plattern has been used to decorate the edge of the plate.

 Figure 5: Front of my copy. As this is a plate not a dish, the edge plaques aren't as long and elegant but I still thing the overall design is balanced.
 Figure 6: The back of my copy. I've replicated the edge decorations using black rather than dark green.

Summary: Success - no mystery white lines. Drollery experiments have showed their worth. I love the green colour.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Plate 8 - part II

So I finished the plate, sent it off for baking and then promptly left for Rowany Festival. Ah, such a delightful event. This year we had fire, flood and tears. I left the boy with instructions to collect the completed plate and fly up with it. This he achieved (eventually) and the plate arrived intact and in all it's blue/green glory. I took it to the Laurels Prize Tourney (which is not a tourney, has no prize and the laurels don't compete) and showed off all my different pottery type experiments. I got some excellent feedback and ideas from laurels and non-laurels alike which I will post about at a future time.

Without further ado.. the plate.

Plate 8: The peacock, replica of a 12th c Syrian dish.

The plate turned out to be rather simple once the option for iridescence had been undocumented. I quite like the chevrons and wibbles that outline the body banding. The main difference between the original and my copy is the lack of a rim as the copy is a plate not a dish. The second difference is that the original has been repaired while my plate is currently in two pieces (it broke on the way home from Rowany somehow). The bits have been placed in Dash's mosaic pile and will hopefully see a new life at some point. I'm not to heartbroken over the breakage as the peacock hasn't made the top five favourite projects.