botanicals and plates

Good morning! I want to begin with introducing you to what I think may be a new series for me- I know that I run through designs pretty frequently, but I get bored with painting the same thing over and over.  This is one reason that I've narrowed my palate to blue and white and aqua.  If I can't keep making the same work, at least it can coordinate. 

I *think* I'm beginning a series of native botanicals.  Right now I've done elderflower, crimson clover, native brier roses, and blackberries.  I took some pictures of the buckeye, full of bees, this morning while I was walking my dogs and may add that to the mix later this spring.  I've enjoyed limiting my palate and stretching the cobalt oxide wash- using it watered down and with more intensity- to create different effects.  I've used the crimson clover motif for some time, but I am really enjoying the elderflower that I painted a few weeks ago in my sketchbook.  All of these cups (and some platters, teacups, and bowls) will be available on May 9 at the Urban Barn Market in Memphis.

I'm still working on my plates, many of which will be for sale at the Barn Market.  I have three more plates to share with you today.

Plate thirteen could also be part of the flora series, though it's not native to the south, fennel has certainly naturalized to the point that it seems native.  My neighbor has a huge stand of fennel in her yard to attract butterflies, and I like to collect the blossoms and seedheads for flower arrangements. This is a 12 inch porcelain platter that I left fairly rustic.  I smoothed the surface but left my throwing ridges, then painted and drew in fennel blossoms and seedheads. I used a tiny liner paintbrush, a pin tool, and seamstress' tracing wheel, but didn't add the inlay.  I like the texture and looseness in this piece, neither of which come naturally to me.

Plate 14 is also more of a serving platter, and one that I believe I'll repeat.  It is essentially a short 10" cylinder with cutout handles and carved cobalt faux bois.  I really enjoy using trays, especially during porch season, and I can see this one getting heavy use.  I haven't decided if this is one that I'll keep or let go, but I'm leaning towards keeping it!

Today's last plate, #14, is also a 10" porcelain plate.  These days I have Maine on the brain, and looking forward to this year's vacation and thinking about all of the flora I loved from last spring's trip, I pulled out my forget me not stamps to decorate the rim of this plate.  The funny thing about working with cobalt is that you don't see where it's transferred, invisibly, to your plate until after it's been fired, and sometimes you don't see speckles and smudges until it's been glazed.  Cobalt is teaching me to both be more conscientious in the studio and to loosen up and just accept what happens.  The interior speckles on this plate are a perfect example of this.  Not intended, but not a calamity, either.

This week I am testing more clear glazes- a new perfect-for-cups glaze crazes like crazy on flatter pieces, and my old perfect clear began giving me problems.  Today I'm testing two new clears on small saucers and trying to finish up throwing for May's big market. 

Enjoy your spring weather, friends!