Inspired by Celtic Knot-work
I'd been thinking of trying to incorporate some knot-work into some of my figure sketches to carve into some of my larger wheel thrown ceramic pieces. Since my goal was to be able to pull 12 inches high or more I'd have plenty of room for some more detailed work. I've always been fascinated by Celtic illustration and was able to see a lot and learn a little more when we lived in England for 3 years.
My first attempt at creating a female figurative piece using Celtic Knots as inspiration. Stage one was one of many triangle knots commonly used. Stage Two I added an additional twist to lengthen the figure and add a body section, like a traditional Celtic Knot the line flows over and under without being able to see a beginning or an end.
I used a different approach here in my second design, choosing instead to add the limbs of the figure to a traditional knot, this was inspired by the animal figures that have been found in Celtic Knot art where a part of the body is the knot itself and the other areas are drawn out from it. I'm looking forward to furthering this design in a relief carving on a ceramic piece where I'll be able to add more depth and lose the "stenciled" look.
Once I had a ceramic piece large enough for my liking, I went with the first Knot Woman to decorate it. To see images of these check out my other journal at www.annmonique.wordpress.com
I have to say, it turned out even better than I'd hoped. The initial bisque firing developed a technical difficulty which accidentally caused the whole load to be fired to Cone 6 instead of the usual Cone 08. If you aren't familiar with ceramics firing temperatures, 08 would be like -8 on a number scale so if you can imagine just the different in -8 to 6 know that in firing temperature this does make a considerable difference in prepping the clay for glaze application.
Using a traditional glaze for stoneware in this case can sometimes be possible but isn't very reliable. It can also be potentially very messy since the glaze could potentially run right off the piece in the final firing and then create havoc on your piece, the kiln shelves, and any pieces unfortunate enough to be close by. Since this was a group studio kiln, I didn't feel comfortable enough to risk all that. Instead I chose to apply an Iron Wash and experiment with a brush on application and sponging off to get a faux texture design. I can't believe I forgot to take a picture of the piece once I was satisfied with the application of the wash. It would have been much easier to see the application results before the clay was darkened by the final firing.
So, as it turns out, I think traditional glazing would not have had as dramatic an effect for the look I was wanting and I am actually very glad the over-firing happened.
This is a prime example of a very Happy Accident!
Since I like her so much, I decided to make her my official Logo. I created the basic outline from the initial sketch and have uploaded her everywhere I can plus stick her on my business cards. Over all I'm very happy.