Naturally artistic

Joanna

Joanna: a happy teacher!

Regular readers of this blog will know that, whilst I’m very creative, mostly I make things that are useful. It may come as a surprise, therefore, to read a second post from me this week about creating something just for the sake of it. Over the years, I have been to a variety of courses that have taught me creative skills: crochet, wet felting (both of which I love) and basketry (which, it turns out, I really don’t like; it being simply fighting with twigs for me). However, a few weeks ago I went on a course to do something that I would describe as pure art. It was entitled Nature into Art – Porcelain Paper Clay Micro-Sculptures.

Now this was something completely new for me. I don’t think I’ve touched anything resembling clay for about 15 years and I’ve certainly not ever attempted sculpture with it. The thing that appealed was that this course took small natural objects for inspiration: seeds, flowers, fungi. Also, I’d met Joanna Bond, the tutor, on another course that we both attended as participants and her description of these sculptures really intrigued me. So, I booked a place.

One of my unglazed creations

One of my unglazed creations

I forgot to take my camera for the first session when we did the sculpting (hence no blog post, but you can read Joanna’s description of the day here – the photo opposite comes from that post). We made some forms inspired by nature – like my interpretation of star anise that you see pictured – plus we also made small ‘plaques’ into which we pressed grasses, to produce impressions. Today we were colouring and glazing our creations and I did take my camera. Firing had transformed the grey objects that we made, into beautiful white sculptures that already looked like works of art:

Some of our fired work

Some of our fired work

The first step was to add some colour, using various pigments:

And then to dip each object into the glaze… at which point all the colour disappeared. The glaze will become transparent when fired again and the beauty of each object revealed once more. One final embellishment for one of my sculptures was to put some tiny pieces of glass into the cavities; this will melt when fired and add pools of colour in the hollows.

Packed up and ready to be taken to be fired

Packed up and ready to be taken to be fired

So, fingers crossed it will work and I’ll have some lovely sculptures and pendants inspired by nature.

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22 Comments

  1. I can’t wait to see the results of this, as your pieces look wonderful, even before being fired 🙂

    I don’t think I’ve done anything with clay since I was at school, but seeing your post brought back to me how much fun it was to do 🙂

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  2. It’s been at least 40 years since I touched any clay, despite loving ceramics at school, and I’ve never heard of porcelain paper clay. Was it easy to use? Does it need much firing? Can you make vessels from it, or is the texture too brittle? Your tiny sculptures are very pretty, like sea creatures, little anemones and sand dollars!

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  3. I can see you getting a kiln next and making some fantastic creations at home.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

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  4. I like to make ‘useful’ things too – but so often make things that are entirely useless! Why is that? But then again sometimes it is good for the soul Dr Snail to make something just because. [Like Mr Snails new ball to throw at his computer screen when it deserves it.] It is also good for the soul to experience new creative outlets – even if we choose not to continue with them…… I once learnt basket making – for a whole term – and feel the same way about it as you, it’s just ‘fighting with sticks’! But at least we tried it and I came away with a new respect for those who do it – I’m sure you did too. This latest class has already produced some beautiful and delicate pieces, which I am sure will make you smile most contentedly when the final unveiling happens. Can’t wait to see them! Then you can return to practical creativity again 🙂

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  5. Oooh, these are luvelly! I pinned something a few weeks ago about paper clay and thought I would like to try it. Really nice.

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  6. What lovely, delicate, pieces of art. And Joanna is so smiley and nice! I am so glad you had fun.

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  7. I think I just realised that I am officially “old”. Joanna looks about 14 years old and way too young to be teaching a class! Beautiful. Sheer, unmitigatedly gorgeous! I am hooked! What is it, how do you do it and where can I sign up! Lubbly jubbly and I now NEED to investigate this gorgeousness…

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  8. This looks like fun–no planning, just playing! But I’m just like you–I mostly really need what I make to have a purpose and a use. I have a studio full of jewelry-making equipment and an actual college degree in that art form and I almost never make anything. Sigh. But I am very intrigued to see your pieces when they come out of the kiln!

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  9. I stopped by to thank you for following my blog but I’m having a delightful time right here. I’ll be perusing more as time permits. I am NO artist but definitely the appreciator of art and the creative mind. You’ll be seeing more of me soon.

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    • Welcome! I’m not sure that I’m an artist, although Pauline The Contented Crafter tells me that I am! I came to you from her and hope to send you something as part of her Random Acts of Kindness #2.

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      • Any friend of Pauline is a friend of mine. She has a heart of gold and talent to match. I’ve been hoping to get more blog reading time in so I could check out some of her friends. I’m getting there. 10 more days and I’ll be home scurrying to get Christmas projects done and them a long winters reading fest. You’ll be seeing more of me than you may want. 🙂 Thank you in advance and I’m looking forward to getting to know you.

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  1. Planning a cover-up | The Snail of Happiness
  2. Out of the kiln | The Snail of Happiness

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