Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Ceramic 42 & 43 - Birthday presents for Tamar

Detail from the Hastings Hours.

I completed ceramic 42/43 ages ago but I've been terribly slow in delivery. I created a plate and shallow bowl set for Lady Iglesia Delamere because I think she's wonderful and deserves pretty things. This project was born from her request to Lady Elizabet Hunter for a silk veil. I believe Iglesia received the veil as a Great Northen War prize which Elizabet kindly donated a voucher for. You can check out some of Elizabet's projects on her pinterest page here.

Corner of hand painted silk veil by Lady Elizabet Hunter made for Lady Iglesia Delamere. Photo by J.Coath.

A slightly blurry picture of the inspiration page from the Hastings Hours.

Together Elizabet and I conspired to make these projects match. We examined a number of sources of medieval illumination and settled on the Hastings Hours as it contains a large variety of floral borders. The challenge was finding something that would work well as both a silk painted and ceramic painted item. We ended up choosing the design above together. Because she is MUCH more organised than I am, Elizabet finished her project before I'd even started mine so I ended up copying the style of her border rather than directly from the book of hours. Below is a project montage followed by some thoughts on authenticity.

Roughing out the layout with a 6B pencil. An owl has been used above the device due to my fond memories of hanging out at Great Northern War with Iglesia. Also, wisdom, or some such.

 Plate painted in but no shading with black on vegetation yet. Light green sections have been shaded with dark green glaze.

Bowl painted and shaded

The bowl post firing - success!

Plate post firing, mostly success. I decided prior to firing that the plate would look better if the vegetation was purple/red and greens. I scratched off some of the purple/red acanthus leaves and replaced them but only noticed I missed part of one after firing. Damn!

Angry owl is angry.

Some thoughts on authenticity:

Is this 100% authentic?
No. The plate and bowl shapes can be documented (see previous projects) however my use of white bisque and modern ceramic glazes are not 100% authentic.

Is the design authentic?
In part yes. The floral design elements are documented in the Hastings Hours. Acanthus leaves and flowers feature on a number of Italian Maiolica items (1, 2, 3, 4). It seems rare to have them placed on a white background but it does occur. Plates will often feature a small central rondel which occasionally contains a heraldic device (5, 6, 7).

Would I change anything to make this more authentic?
Not for this project. The recipient is happy and I'm rather pleased with how this came out! The set is microwave and dishwasher safe and uses non-toxic glazes. It was produced by someone (me) who has no skill in the area of pottery and prefers just to apply glazes.

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