On returning to university, I came back to find my underglaze decorated plate glazed! It was one of the few not to make it into the kiln before Christmas, which worried me slightly as to whether it would ever get glazed! But luckily it was done when I came back to Cardiff. I was really pleased about this, as I wanted to give the plate to my parents – the house I drew is the first house they lived in together and the first house I lived in.
Above are photos of my series of plates, the final outcome of the Home Truths project. As you can see, the decals fired very well and you can clearly see the faded parts of the images. I am very pleased with my plates, and all other work I have developed from this project.
At the start of the project, I was a little nervous to be in an area of Art and Design that I had little experience in; but I chose Home Truths because I had an interest in ceramics for interiors, because that is the area I am most interested in in Textiles. When I learnt that what we would be doing was surface decoration on the plates, I was very happy as surface decoration is the main focus in my subject area.
After some research and thinking about what home meant to me, my main idea was to draw all the houses that I have lived in, as a lot of memories have taken place in them – which happened to be six, exactly the amount the brief asked for! The first couple of houses however, I had little to no memory of them, as I was under five years old when I lived there. I wanted to incorporate this into my designs somehow. I really liked the technique of underglaze painting, so I spoke to Matt (a technical demonstrator in ceramics) about whether there would be a way to create a glaze that was translucent, so you could see the image, but not clearly. He said it would be possible if there were more time to do lots of test tiles, and as I would want it to get more and more transparent as my memories get clearer it would take a while to get right, and there just wasn’t enough time for that. So I decided to use decalle transfers. I drew a line drawing of each house, from photos that my parents had provided me with, and then scanned them to edit on photoshop. For the houses I have little memory of, I used the eraser tool with a large blur on it to erase any areas I didn’t remember. I then added a colour in behind each house, which were my favourite colours at the time I was living in them. I also put a small transfer on the back of each plate, which says the street name of the house.
I’m pleased with the outcome of this project, but also surprised at myself. I didn’t think I would put such a personal feel into a project, as normally I create things that are very commercial. It is a nice change from the norm, and I will strongly consider using ceramics in the future.
After much consideration and a discussion with Matt (a ceramics technical demonstrator), I decided to use decalle transfers for my final designs. This is because I want to ‘blur’ the first few images of the houses I lived in when I was very young, as I do not remember them. My discussion with Matt led me to understand that to achieve that in a glaze would take a lot of experimenting with opaque and coloured glazes. This takes a while, and the deadline does not really allow for me to do this, especially as I have no previous experience in this area of ceramics. Perhaps if I had longer to make my final plates then it would have been a possibility. Also, as I have knowledge of Photoshop (the programme where the decalle transfers are generated) I knew how to blur the images how I wanted them. I knew that as far as the generation of the images and the printing of them was concerned, I had complete control of how they would turn out (unlike if I chose to do underglaze painting).
Below are my scanned in drawings that I edited in Photoshop, I’m going to leave the final images until they’re on the plates!
On Thursday, we learnt how to glaze ceramics. I glazed my pieces from the wet on clay workshop where we used slip to decorate leather hard terracotta clay (which I forgot to take photos of before they were fired!) To glaze the tiles, I dipped the side with the designs on in the liquid glaze. They will now be fired again, which will make the glaze transparent. I’m looking forward to seeing the finished tiles.
We also did on glaze painting, on terracotta tiles that had already been biscuit fired. I dipped it in the liquid glaze and left it to dry for half an hour so it was slightly dry when I went to paint on it. I then returned to it, and painted on top of the glaze.
I have continued with my theme on my workshop tiles, creating imagery that represents parts of houses. They are not specific parts of houses that I have lived in, but still relate to my theme.
For this project, I have decided to use how I have lived in a number of places as my theme. I have lived in six houses throughout my childhood and teenage years, and would like to represent each place. The first couple of houses I have little to no memory of, I only know of them from photos my parents have shown me. I would like to find a way of representing these blurred memories on my plates.
I think I will most likely use underglaze painting, as this worked really well in the workshop; but I may explore other techniques such as decalle transfer before making my final decision.
Below is a slideshow of all the houses I have lived in (up until I moved to Cardiff for university!)
Thanks to Google Maps (street view) for the images of the houses in Poole, Ferndown, and Cambridge – I either couldn’t find pictures or they weren’t clear/of the whole front.