Wednesday 6 March 2019

ceramic plates

Recently I was reading a coffee-table book on Charleston, home of Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant, and (at various times) others from the Bloomsbury Group. The book was written by Quentin Bell (Vanessa's son) and Virginia Nicholson. As well giving me yet another peek at life to satisfy my continued curiosity about the group, I was also interested in seeing, within the rooms of the house, pieces of hand-painted pottery on tables, mantles, bookshelves, etc. Quentin Bell was the potter, but often his mother and Duncan Grant would paint the bisque ware before Quentin himself got to it (or he would leave some pots out for them). I liked seeing the pottery as I hadn't quite decided how I was going to glaze the slab plates I have made this year. This platter of mermaids is one of Quentin Bell's pieces.

Over the past dozen or so years, my annual visit to Antibes has also brought me in close contact with the ceramics of Picasso, which I also find inspiring. The Picasso Museum at the Chateau Grimaldi in Antibes has a large selection of his paintings on plates.

I thought some plates made from a low fire white clay would provide a perfect ground for painting.

Since circular slabs were simply draped over pudding bowl lids, I was able to make feet for the plates while the clay was still in its very damp phase.

I decided there was something about terracotta that I really liked and decided on using it for a set of plates. For larger plates I placed the slabs within the curve of a plate as former (cling wrapped first of course!). This meant that I would not be putting feet on the large plates, as the plates needed to dry in their former before I could remove them.

I made some smaller plates in terracotta too. As with the white ones the circular slabs are draped over pudding bowl lids. In this photo I have decided the size and location of the feet and scored accordingly.

This is a foot, made in two pieces, scored and ready to be placed, with plenty of slip, on one of the plates.

Here are the two small terracotta plates with feet attached, signed and ready to dry before bisquing.

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