Thursday, 27 February 2014

50% of A&s 50 challenge complete - round up so far!

I have completed 50% of my A&S challenge! I've got to finish another 5 before June to succeed in one part of my Moralez-Beaumont  household challenge. I've got a little over a year to finish this thing and I've learned so much already. I've made items from a range of locations, and in a range of shapes. I am a little stuck on Iranian pottery at the moment because they have such lovely complex designs with none of the shading that's so very majolicia (Item 11).

Plate Item Style Culture Age
0.1 Un-documenting the Spanish Tazza - Spanish -
1 My household plate Lusterware Spanish 15th C
2 Gabriel's Plate Tin Glazed earthenware Spanish, Seville or Valencia 1525-1550
3 Constanzia's Plate Tin Glazed earthenware Spanish, Seville or Valencia 1550-1600
4 Relief experiment Lusterware Spanish, Reus 1575-1600
5 Ibis plate Luserware Spanish, Manises 1525-1575
6 Drollery plate 1 Illumination -  
7 Drollery plate 1 Illumination -  
8 Peacock plate Stonepaste with under-glaze decoration Syrian 12th C
9 Dove plate Earthenware Iran 14th C
9.1 Sultanabad research - Iranian  
10 Rohans household plate Lusterware Spanish 15th C
11 Hare and artichoke bowl Tin Glazed earthenware Italy, Florence 1450
12 Mirriams serving plate Tin Glazed earthenware Spanish, Manises 1400-1450
13 Tile 1 Stonepaste with lustre over white underglaze Kashan, Iran 1263
14 Tile 2 Stonepaste with lustre over white underglaze Kashan, Iran 14th C
15 Tile 3 Stonepaste with lustre over white underglaze Kashan, Iran 1260-1270
16 Tile 4 Stonepaste with lustre over white underglaze Kashan Iran 13th C
17 Tile 5 Stonepaste with lustre over white underglaze Kashan, Iran 14th C
18 Tile 6 Stonepaste with lustre over white underglaze Kashan, Iran 13th C
19 Tile 7 Stonepaste with lustre over white underglaze Iran 13th C
20 Pheasant Plate Stonepaste with overglaze lustre Kashan, Iran 12th C
21 Escher Plate Geometrical line drawing with  pigment Modern Modern-ish
22 Tile 8 Stonepaste with lustre over white underglaze Iran 13th C
23 Fox Plate Wooden plate with gesso and varnish Egypt 13-14th C
24 Tile 9 Stonepaste with lustre over white underglaze Iran 13th C
25 Tile 10 Stonepaste with lustre over white underglaze Iran 1262
26 Iznik Plate Polychrome underglaze Iznik 1575

I've sort of stalled on the tiles as it's getting harder to keep track of what designs I've already completed and where everything fits together. I am determined I will finish at least half of my tile designs as I plan on using them to decorate a bathroom, once I have a house. In other news, next time I drop by Glazeit they should have some new bisque for me to try - cups! I'm very excited and have started collecting reference images on Pinterest

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Ceramic 23 - Brooke's Fox plate

Dish - Egypt. 13th - 14th C. Mus Numer - W.40.1950 Wooden dish, with painted decoration of a long-eared quadruped, probably a jackal. Place of Origin Egypt Date 13th century - 14th century Dimensions Thickness: 2.5 cm, Diameter: 28.5 cm Object history note Purchased in London, said to have been found in the ruins of Fostat, Egypt. Located in the V&A. Item no. W.40-1950


I've been looking to make a fox plate for Brooke for a while. The only foxes I've been able to find are in illuminations and one on a cruciform tile from 13th century Iran. So when I found this Egyptian plate I HAD to make it.
 Fox in progress.

The extant plate has been turned out of ficus sycomorous, painted with gesso and sealed with a varnish. The colours in the original plate will not have been available to ceramic artists of the time as these are coloured pigments painted onto a wooden object, rather than minerals fused onto a ceramic

I changed the colors around a little on this one and edited the shape of the quadruped's ears to make it more foxy. I changed the background behind the fox from an orangy red, to a green to contrast with the orange of the fox better. Also, my friends favorite colours happen to be lime green, emerald green, bright blue and orange. I really hope she'll enjoy eating off this.

I found the curlicues a fun challenge on this one. I started by painting the entire section red, then scratching the curls through onto the bisque. I then backfilled with yellow glaze. The challenge was maintaining the thinness of the lines while applying the three coats. I think it worked quite well.

Again, this is posted out of sequence so as not to spoil the surprise - it'll take me months to get it to her, because she lives in ACT and I'm not sending it via Auspost. I ended up sending it via SCA-post - Thanks Mirriam/Waldo and Neil!!

Friday, 21 February 2014

Ceramic 12 - Mirriams serving plate

Dish - Manises, Spane. 1400-1450. Tin-glazed earthenware with lustre decoration, Item number: 1460-1870. V&A Museum.

I made Mirriams plate mid-last year. It was created as a prize for the table competition at one of the Winterfeasts I ran. I picked it up just before and event and delivered it that day. As a result I didn't get a picture, I haven't even seen the finished product!
It took me over a year to complete it because it was a large plate than I was accustom to (serving plate) and I had to make sure the design and colours suited her requirements (green). The design she chose was simple enough, a rampant lion but she also wanted a personalised motto - Agite primo recte. I will happily admit I have no idea what is written on the extant plate (hints anyone?).
So for this plate, I broke each word into two sections - Ag ite pri mo rec te. I then spent hours researching medieval hands (specific scripts and ways of writing) from both the time period and place. I couldn't for the life of me find something that looked like the very decorative script on the original. Then after a conversation with Waldo regarding woodgrain and the obvious impact on viking text I realised my mistake. The scripts I was researching were created with a quill. The shape of the quill, the viscosity of the ink and the absorbancy of the parchment would directly impact on the style of the script. The ceramic artist who painted the plate was using a brush with glaze, an entirely different medium. So, I stopped looking for scripts and tried to imitate the decorative nature of the text on the plate itself. I made up the script for the letters that I didn't have on the original and I joined a number of letters together to make sure they looked right. I then decorated the background in light green as I still haven't a working kiln for lustre experiments. I think it turned out quite well considering I didn't chose the subject matter. Mirriam seems happy with it so it's a successful project!
Also, I remember how much I dislike commissions, I hate feeling like I have to produce for a timetable.

Mirriam's finished plate - I think it's turned out quite well and is nicely balanced. The text isn't as florid as the original but that's important so the joined letters can be read.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Shield of awesome 2014

During my 6-7 year fighting career, I've gone through a number of shields. The first was a tiny pizza box shaped one out of laminated ply that Baron Piers helped me make. It was all varnished, and painted with my device and it was beautiful. As my first shield it was also very light which ended up being it's downfall. Also, I couldn't protect my leg for nuts.

A number of years later, Bryce made me a much larger shield and it was MASSIVELY heavy. Laminated, curved ply with a layer of canvass and lots of paint and a ridged handle. My leg was safe but my head wasn't. I couldn't really move it and I couldn't fight for long.

Then I went to Pennsic in 2009 for the first time. I was beginning to get serious about fighting so I bought an aircraft aluminum blank from windrose. Below is a pic of it in action at Rowany Festival 2010. As you can see, I still haven't fixed up the ittledo edging. The edging consists of the aluminum shield edging from Windrose (it's automotive door trim), stuck on with coloured duct tape in a mockery of my heraldry. The front doesn't look too bad, if you over look the aluminum-ness of it, but the back was messy.

This shield, being metal, lasted me a long long time. However I was still having problems. I often travel, and I was going to Northern War and Pennsic and Rowany Festival every chance I got. Each year at Northern War I'd borrow a shield and end up getting a very purple leg. So the next time I went to Pennsic, I bought a new shield so I could leave it in Queensland and use it whenever I flew in. That year, Waldo and I both bought shields, and Rohan got a little excited with the duct tape. (Pic of us in the woods battle, I'm 'Hit Him', Waldo is 'Look behind you')

The shield had a flat top which was a nice change but I couldn't keep the duct tape like that. So I ended up trimming it, covering it in canvas and painting my device on it. Below is an image of it in action at March Monthly Bash, 2012.

The edging kept coming off, so finally I covered it in canvas over the edging. It was white for a long time but I ended up painting it up all pretty for the January Twilight Tourney in Krae Glas. I didn't varnish this shield, and as a result it got duct tape smears all over it pretty quickly. Still, I think I did an okay job of replicating the St George and the Dragon painting with bonus velociraptor.

I used this shield for almost a year before leaving it at Gabs' and returning home with my old duct-tape quartered shield. The old shield was just strapped wrong and a bit awkward so I thought I'd re-do it eventually. I ended up letting Dash cut a hole in the middle and use it as a center grip. (Note to self: oversee every project he does using power tools, the idea of measure once, think twice, measure again and THEN cut doesn't occur to him.)

So I've been shieldless for a while now and have been trying to get my act into gear and canvas and strap the 4 blanks I brought back from Pennsic in 2013. I've finally gotten around to it.

Qantas at Dallas really weren't happy with four shields taped to my bag oddly enough. I had to make a franken-box to hold it before they'd let me continue my journey to Melbourne.

I started with a french (?) style slightly bent shield from my favourite shield people at Pennsic. They cut the shield to order and it's ready by the end of the day. This year they even delivered it to my campsite in the 38 degree heat! 
Bryce helped me strap it and make a solid handle out of pipe after which I hammered on the automotive trim. I then traced the shield onto some canvas with a 2.5 inch border. The border was then snipped into strips. The canvas was then coated in quick grip as was the shield. Apply canvas to shield and smooth out any bubbles. The strips allow the canvas to be folded neatly over the edging. This is where I stopped on my first shield but it doesn't look particularly good on the back. So I covered the back with canvas. This takes a bit of measurement and is a little fiddly when all the bits are coated in quick grip which is fast drying in the burning burning sun. I used a paper template to determine the size of the canvas back so it would be just smaller than the edge of the trim. Thus, the raised bit of the edge stops the canvas from catching and the back peice tensions the front piece of canvas and I'll never have to replace it (theoretically). The edges get additional quick grip over the top just to ensure they hold on tight.
The whole lot was given three coats of matt white undercoat and then it was ready for decorating!

Partially painted shield, at 4cm each I think the white lines are a good width.

Presenting my new shield of awesome 2014:

Gabs has frequently made the point that half the photos of people fighting feature the back of their shield. As a result all the center grips he's been making his squires have the back painted in a sort of checky blue and white pattern. I agree with him on this idea so I thought I'd follow the household's lead. The design is a field (like ermine) called palmetty. It's supposed to be leaves or scales or something. I thought it would look pretty and be a bit different than the boys' shields.

Back of the shield in all it's glory, I'm going to look amazing at Bash!

I spent a week debating what to put on the front. I could paint another figurative scene like the St George and the Dragon but it's not really distinctive on the war field and I'm not such a good painter. So I decided to do my device again even though the last time looked rather plain. This time, I decided to follow the lead of Luke of White Company. He makes the most beautiful shields where the fields are textured. I was also inspired by a pennant Lady Elizabet Hunter made for me that features the kingdom device, the St Monican device, the household device and my device... all of which are variations on red, blue and white. So I thought I'd use some of the symbols as the texture on my shield. The red quarters get stars (kingdom) and a badger (Moralez-Beaumont) and the blue quarters get crossed quills (college) and goutte (stormhold). I'd have included Krae Glas instead of Moralez-Beaumont (and put a badger on the middle of the shield) but their device is yellow and blue, and a simple diagonal line with three laurels wreaths, no real charges to utilise.

After painting, and outlining the textures and touching up the white, I covered the shield in a spray on matt sealer (twice) before applying two layers of clear matt varnish. I think it looks lovely, and should hopefully last me quite a few years.