Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Plate 10 - Vandal's plate

Vandal's household plate - prefiring. Colours = 1, 10, 18, 28, 30

This plate has been kicking around for about 9 months. First it was on pause until someone else in my household bothered to register their device. Then it was held up because I had other things to do and repeating a design is somewhat boring. The elements of this plate are exactly the same as Plate 1 however I've changed the device in the middle to Vandel Lynchea's device. I also didn't do a pale brown wash on this one as it came out streaky on mine. It also isn't period and I've realized that I shouldn't be trying to replicate plates as they look now (all aged and scratched) but as they looked for their original owners. This means a crispy white base underneath the glaze. Thankfully Vandal's device is a white diamond on quarterly black and purple with a border of white. Simple, effective and easy to draw. Everything a good device should be. This plate gave me the opportunity to use a white underglaze for the first time. Sort of pointless you might think given that the plate is already white however areas that have under glaze are raised above the plate and I didn't want Vandal to have divets in his device. Hopefully it'll look as nice once it's baked as it does in my head.

I also got to use purple for the first time.

On purple:
Manganese purple was in use during the middle ages. Here is a link to a 16th century tile that's simply beautiful and utilises manganese purple. I've found references to manganese purple on ceramics as early as the 12th century but I haven't been looking all that hard. I do know manganese oxides have been found in french cave paintings. Most of the references I've found that use manganese don't really have a vibrant purple. It's more of a brownie purple. I'm not sure if this is due to oxidisation and age or if this was the intended colour. I will have to experiment with manganese pigments at some point.

Having found a manganese deposit (here <- they named it after me!), I can safely say this is one chemical that would have been easy to spot and acquire in the Middle Ages. Manganese tends to be concentrated due to weathering of overlying sediments. It is often associated with iron and on our 45% outcrops it showed as a beautiful black (iron) and purple (manganese) rock. I'm just kicking myself that I seem to have lost the sample I got from this site. I would have been nice to have made a pigment from scratch from a deposit I discovered.

On colour choice:
In some cases, the period pigment isn't viable. This may be due to toxins such as lead being utilised in the blend. In other cases I simply can't do it. For example, lustre items involve placing thin sheets of metals under a glaze and baking at a low temperature. As I want my plates to be food safe, microwave and dishwasher safe I can't do this. I also can't do this because I can't afford gold leaf at the moment, and I'm not firing my own pieces so I don't control the temperature. When I get around to running the small plate kiln and trying to make my own glazes, THEN I'll look into lustre, in the mean time I'm substituting visually appropriate colours.

The colour palette I work with.
 I've acquired, 5, 10, 13, 19, 22, 25 and 28. Next on the list is 18 because I love that rich yellow colour.

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