Sketches of wolf anatomy by J.C. Amberlyn
This plate has been on the go since I completed Vandels plate in 2013!. I started the two at the same time but Nyssa hadn't registered her device yet so I didn't want to make the plate until she had. After registration, I'd sort of lost interest in this project because it was at the time consuming central blue bits stage and I'd already done two of these. I have a very short attention span. This plate, in it's half finished form, moved house with me three times before finally ending up in Perth. I decided Nyssa's birthday was the perfect reason to finally complete this thing so I could stop worrying about scratching the underglaze and give my friend something she'll hopefully use at every future event. I like the fact she and Ro have a matching set now.
Nyssa's banner by Lasy Elizabet Hunter.
Nyssa device is, quarterly purpure and sable, a wolf statant and a bordure argent. I had a bit of trouble with the device as heraldic wolves tend to be a little too dog like. I was tempted to copy the wolf that Lady Elizabet had used for Nyssa's heraldic banner but I didn't think the outlines would work as well in the size I was working on. I was also worried that the underglaze wouldn't allow me to make the fine shapes I needed to do. After much googling and a number of sketches, I decided to go with a smidge of viking knot work to tie in where her Norse name.
I also received some great advice at the Laurel Prize Tourney this year which was to investigate the skeleton of any animal I plan on drawing to work out the most realistic body shapes. This was specifically for jaw lines so my badgers would stop looking like racoons but the same concept apples to any animal. I purchased Drawing Wildlife by J.C. Amberlyn. It's a great book which shows skulls and skeletons of many creatures as well as fur patterns and postures. It takes you through how to draw particular animals step by step. I found it amazingly useful!
I wanted to honour Nyssa's viking persona and have a wolf that looks more wolfy than the typical heraldic wolf so I did some sketches and practiced and practiced.
Finally, I was able to paint the plate and drop it off at the team at Glaze It for firing. Of the three plates in this series so far, I am most happy with this one! I'm also pleased that Nyssa and Rohan have matching couples plates. I don't often make sets but when I do the satisfaction is -almost- work the tedium.