Friday, 29 August 2014

Making the 1718 Coverlet Ceramics

So having said 'Yes' to making the series of pieces based on the gorgeous 1718 Patchwork Coverlet, only THEN did I give some thought as to how I would go about it!

I studied the online image of the whole quilt (see my last post) and contacted Susan Briscoe, (author of 'The 1718 Coverlet'), who sent me her own master plan of the quilt on which she had numbered each individual block, making it easy for me to identify the close-up images I required for the pots.

There was no point printing off the images, as they would not be the size I needed for my pieces, so I just drew the online image free-hand onto card which I then cut out to make a template.

Template placed into position on the clay slab.
The template was then placed into position on the already rolled out clay slab so that I could mark out the image with a clay tool.

Design completely marked out and border being added 
Obviously, for some blocks, I didn't need a card template.  Geometric shapes are ok - geese are another matter!  I wanted to set the whole design off with a decorative border and, appropriately, used a lace imprint.

Fired once, glaze applied and awaiting second firing in kiln.
The picture above shows the same design but with a different lace-patterned border (photographic consistency not my strong point!).  This would then come out of the kiln all finished except for the thread and button detail.  You saw the finished version of this one in the last post.  Here are some of the others.

Large and small bowls out of the kiln, but not yet with thread and button attachments

I wanted to concentrate mainly on the blocks around the name and date block, as I felt that was significant.

Close-up of the original name/date block, courtesy of Sue Briscoe
But who was EH?  Did we ever find out?  I seriously wondered about her (him??!!) whilst I was making all these.  I thought about joyful colours, detail, imagery, perseverance, patience, skill, talent, creativity, fulfilment, history, life in 1718, and a thousand other things ....  even whether she was up there watching me!

My potter's mark centre top in the border
Can you see my potter's mark here on this piece?  CD and EH - working together!
Now you get the process, my final 1718 post next time will be few words and many pictures.

Have a great weekend.  Getting Autumny .... back to school .... sharpen those pencils!

Cathy x

Monday, 18 August 2014

1718 Silk Patchwork Coverlet

Back in May this year I was asked by the National Quilt Museum in York (to whom I supply my ceramic quilt bowls) if I would be interested in making a series of pieces based on one of their exhibits, the 1718 Silk Patchwork Coverlet.  For those who don't know, this is the oldest dated quilt in the country and the Museum are mounting an exhibition around it in September.
The 1718 Coverlet
I took one look at the image of the Coverlet and immediately replied YES!  I mean - just look at it!  How could you not get involved in something as crazy and beautiful as that?

There is a book entitled The 1718 Coverlet, by Susan Briscoe, (foreword by Kaffe Fassett),  which has just been published, which researches the background to the piece and gives full patterns and instructions on how to make the 69  blocks from this. 

I got in touch with Susan, pre-publication,  to see if she could help with close-ups of the blocks I wanted to use so that I could work from them.  She was incredibly generous and helpful and sent me all the images I asked for -  like this one:

image of original panel from 1718 Coverlet courtesy of Susan Briscoe
and this one:
image of original panel from 1718 Coverlet courtesy of Susan Briscoe
Once I had these close-ups, I was able to work in detail on the ceramics and produce in total 20 pieces which will be dispatched to the museum in the next few weeks, in time for their Exhibition.  Below is just one of the series - I will bore you rigid show you more in the next few blogs and go into detail about the making process.

Ceramic Bowl based on the 1718 Coverlet.

All the pieces have my trade-mark mixed media threaded bits and attached buttons, and I added my own border to frame the block.  It's very much my own interpretation, rather than an exact replica, but I am pleased with the results.

I had the most fun making these.  It has been both fascinating and fulfilling to interpret images from this historic quilt onto ceramic bowls.  Do go to the Exhibition in York if you can (5 Sept to 13 Dec) and they're doing all sorts of workshops, etc around this for you clever quilters! 

More to come next time!

x Cathy

Saturday, 2 August 2014

When Life gets on top of you!

When life gets on top of me, as it is at the moment, I automatically work small.  It isn't a conscious choice, but I've noticed that's the way it always goes.

Tiny ceramic tiles - 5cm square - so cute!!

So I found myself making little ceramic tiles in my favourite colours and patterns and though they're only little and I've no idea what I'll do with them, I felt like I had at least achieved something!

But then even more 'stuff' intervened and the work got even smaller ..... and I used just the central pattern from the flower tiles to make these - don't quite know what they are/will be, but that didn't matter at the time.

Ceramic flowers - pendants?  Something!

Then .....  life and stuff and everything crowded in even more and the pottery got REALLY TINY!  These little buttons are just over a centimetre in diameter.

Itty bitty buttons - to sew onto my BIG patchwork bowls

Sometimes, though, it's enough that you do something, however little, and just carry on in a small way, until things get back to normal, (whatever that is!).

And I hope that happens soon, because if the work gets any smaller than 1cm it will be invisible!
But don't worry - it's nothing serious, just 'life and stuff and everything'.  This too shall pass.

Is this phenomenon familiar to you or is it just me?

x Cathy