Specialist Mark Making Techniques

On Tuesday, we learnt more mark making techniques during a lecture with Helen. After the lecture we put what we had just learnt into practice, trying out some of the new techniques. Here are some of my favourites!

Embroidery Effect

I really like the outcome of this, as it really does look like applique! However, I will probably re-do this particular one as I realised after that I’d got the yellow and black the wrong way around! Also, it will give me a chance to get the ‘stitches’ more uniform, as some of them are longer/thicker than others.


Spattering is so simple! All there is to it is cutting a stencil and spraying some paint over it with an old toothbrush or a paintbrush! I really like both the negative space where the stencil was and the stencil itself, which I have kept. I used different tones of green to make it more interesting.


I love how these stamps look quite mysterious yet fun, because of the quite basic shape. In hindsight I should have washed my hands between each time I stamped so there wouldn’t be black marks everywhere!

India Ink ‘Woodblock’ Technique

This was a second attempt at this technique, as the first time I didn’t read the instructions properly and ended up washing most of the original paint away! It still did that slightly on this attempt, but it worked much better than the first time. I like the sense of texture that this technique gives.

I think the first three techniques suit my theme very well, as they could easily be used as imagery for children. Stamping in particular, as I am going to try techniques such as potato printing in the near future.


From drawing to digital stitch

One of the first things I drew after deciding on my theme was this bumblebee below. I chose to draw him because I knew I wanted insects to be an focus point in the project, and a bee was a) the first thing that popped into my head and b) a very integral part of a garden.

Original Drawing

During our stitch workshops, the group was split into two, where the first group would learn digital stitch with Maggie in the morning and the second group in the afternoon. When we weren’t learning digital stitch, we created something using the skills we had already learnt in first year. I decided to create a bee, as at that point it was one of the only drawings I had to do with my theme. I like him but the fabric has been pulled in a few places because it is very thin.

Free machine embroidery using dissolvable fabric

Below is my first attempt at digital stitch – Β and of course it’s a bee! I think he turned out quite well for a first try, apart from the small gaps between the black and yellow and where I accidently cut the bobbin thread underneath one of his anntenae, causing it to come loose. The gaps were not an issue to fix – just a case of moving the shapes around on the software to make sure they overlapped.

My first attempt at digital stitch

Below is my second, and much improved, attempt at digital stitch. I used a slightly thicker fabric to avoid the puckering that happended the first time, and did the embroidery hoop up as tight as I could! After moving the shapes on the software, Maggie helped me to add an effect that looks like fuzz – where the black creeps in on top of the yellow. I am really pleased with this outcome as I was a bit disheartened after the first one. I look foward to learning more in the future.

My second attempt at digital stitch

Home Truths – 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!)

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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.

Underglaze Painting

On Thursday, we did two workshops. The first of these was underglaze painting. We used ceramic pigments mixed with water, and some pencils that are specifically for use on biscuit fired ceramics.


Above is my plate, which features a continuous line drawing of one of the houses I lived in during my childhood. I really like the outcome of this, as the colours are subtle but work very well with the drawing. I think I will probably use this technique for my final collection of plates, as I think it’s the technique that works best with my theme.

We also learnt some on clay techniques like scraffito but I forgot to take photos! I will upload some when my pieces have been fired.

Artist Research – Laura Carlin

Laura Carlin is an illustrator and ceramicist who has lived and worked in London since graduating from The Royal College of Art in 2004. She illustrates children’s books and makes ceramics with illustrative designs.

screen-shot-2016-12-06-at-11-22-38I really like the colours used on this plate, the bright orange contrasts well with the navy grey. I also like how really simple dots represent windows, simple mark making helps to create quite a complex image.


The drawings on this pot remind me of children’s drawings, as things aren’t in proportion on some of the animals. I also like how the illustration is greyscale.


I like the simple shapes on this pot, and the mix of colours and textures used. The shapes used remind me of mark making.

Artist Research – Robert Dawson

Dawson has created a few plates/collections that are blurred or distorted, making them mysterious. This interests me as I think that my theme will involve memories; some of which are very faint and the blurring and distortion are a good representation of this.

Willow Pattern with Uncertainty, print on bone china, dia. 27 cm, 2003

In all three plates, Dawson has taken images willow patterns and changed them, probably editing the image digitally and then applying using decalle transfers. In the first image, only some of it is blurred, making it slightly mysterious.

Spin, print on bone china, each plate dia. 27 cm, 2010

I really like how this series gets more blurred as it goes on. It reminds me of a washing machine on a spin cycle!


Can you walk from the garden, does your heart understand, print on bone china, each plate dia. 27 cm, 1996

Here Dawson has taken parts of the willow image and blown them up, spreading them across the series of plates. If one of the plates is viewed separately, you get a skewed view of the image.

Images taken fromΒ http://www.aestheticsabotage.com/

A First Play with Clay

On Thursday, we began to work with clay. We made lumps of clay into a tablet shape and made marks into it using various tools. Annoyingly I forgot to take a photo otherwise I would have inserted one here! I will upload one to my blog once it has been fired.

We then did an activity where we told the person sitting next to us a story about home, and they drew it out inside a circle (to replicate a plate shape). This was to get us used to working with a circular shape, rather than the squares or rectangles that are much more commonly used.

The interpretation of my story, which was about all the different houses I’d lived in, and that one of my main memories of childhood is doing crafts.