I have a few projects I would very much like to begin, but from experience, I now know it is worth waiting for the rolling sticks to arrive before I try to hand roll out big slabs of clay.
So, dear internet, I thought I’d share with you some sketches from my book.
This is a selection of photos I’ve taken from Cambodia and I’ve been using these as initial ideas for shapes and colours.
As I’ve mentioned, I want to make a Khmer inspired tea set and for this I’ve been thinking a lot about the shape of the body of the pot. Spherical or more cubic.. I would very much like it to have an ‘edge’ connecting the handle to the spout. Although in sketches this looks great on the spherical pot, I think practically speaking a more square pot might be in order – or not square, but cube… four sided, but two sides much thinner than the two main walls. I don’t really intend this set to be used (it would be great if it could) but really it’s the aesthetic that I’m interested in and capturing the essence and the colours.
This is the page in my sketch book of the first two jugs I made. They’re with SB at the moment so hopefully when I go back they’ll be biscuit fired and ready for glazing! But of course, the adornment broke when I took them with me to the studio in the car. Gah. But if they work out, I’ll make another.
I’ve also been thinking about the markets in Phnom Penh and how wonderfully full and seemingly chaotic they are to initial observation, but upon closer look the stalls selling cloth, trinkets, bowls, cups and saucers etc. are actually highly organised. Some images from www.phnompenhinfo.com can give you a good idea of what I mean, if you haven’t experienced markets in SE Asia yourself! A few from the sit are below.
I have tried to capture the fullness and variety of shapes and textures. (I really need to learn which way to hold my camera – wordpress edit doesn’t let me rotate the image, but just to be clear, it’s a vase…)
Part of the inspiration for this drawing came from looking at Kate Malone’s recent work for Waddesdon Mannor. Her pieces made specifically for this event but as always, are incredibly vibrant and sumptuous. At times her pieces are sparse in detail and therefore allowing the colour to trigger the imagination and at other times, her pots and vessels are visual feasts, every inch of surface covered! The intricacy of her work genuinely astounds me. As a home potter, I am in awe of the detail and skill that goes in to her work. I really hope we get up to Waddesdon Mannor to see the exhibition – hopefully beloved, little one and I can make a weekend of it.
In my mind, but not yet sketched out, is a similar pot but one depicting the overcrowded, informal housing (I wont call them slums, if you want to read my doctoral thesis you can find out why) but the infamous White Building in Phnom Penh and the areas around Boeung Tra Bek etc. would make for a fascinating project.
And finally, a project I’ve had in mind for probably 9 months or more – is to make a chess set! I have a particular recipient in mind, but I have put it off for now, as I want to have a really beautiful finish on the pieces. But hopefully with my new rolling guides etc. I will be able to create a set I’m happy with. I have gone for minimal, simple shapes, as this I think, would be what the person receiving it would like. The glaze for this will be important too. And I’ll have to think of a way to store them delicately enough so they don’t chip. My sewing machine will no doubt be coming out for that!
So, Ta Dah! It’s certainly a little intimidating sharing a sketch book. I have no idea if my ideas will work well in clay, they will no doubt change and be modified as pratical necessity dictates. But it’s exciting nonetheless!