Saturday, 30 March 2013

Contrary Crow Doll

Remember Big Cawdelia who sits on Ragged Ronnie Rhino?
Well, a little while ago I decided to make some more crow dolls, but smaller. When I finished the first one I sat her on the windowsill while I did a little painting of her...

Acrylic on card
Then I thought she might like some company.
At first Little Cawdelia seemed to like the porcelain doll I selected, but then things took a turn for the worse....
Acrylic on card
Acrylic on card
I don't think she plays well with others...

Sunday, 24 March 2013

The Raven

It's been a busy couple of weeks, what with workshops at university, the print symposium, working at the clinic, and stewarding for the Impress festival.
Much of it has been enjoyable, but not much time to get on with my own artwork. I did do this very large charcoal drawing of a scene from my interpretation of a Grimms tale called The Raven, using one of my ceramic bird girls as a model.

Charcoal on paper (75x60 cms approx)

There was once upon a time a queen who had a little daughter who was still so young that she had to be carried.  One day the child was naughty, and the mother might say what she liked, but the child would not be quiet.  The queen became impatient, and as the ravens were flying about the palace, she opened the window and said, "I wish you were a raven and would fly away, and then I should have some rest".  Scarcely had she spoken the words, before the child was changed into a raven, and flew from her arms out of the window.  It flew into a dark forest, and stayed in it a long time, and the parents heard nothing of their child.

Then one day a man was bathing in the lake in the forest and heard the raven crying in some nearby bushes, and followed the voice, and when he came nearer, the bird said, "I am a king's daughter by birth, and am bewitched, but you can set me free".  "What am I to do, asked he......"


Thursday, 14 March 2013

My First Attempts at Slip Casting

Soon after Christmas (when my dissertation was safely handed in) I bought a second hand plaster slip mould of a pigeon for £4. I took it in to the university ceramics technican and he gave me a crash course in slip casting (although he did wonder whether it was rather a large mould to start with considering my zero knowledge on the subject). It is quite large (that's a 12 inch ruler in the picture) and very heavy (special thanks to my sister in law, Helen, for collecting it from the seller for me) .

When my first attempt came out of the kiln OK I coloured her dove grey and gave her human eyes.
I had a very clear idea of what I wanted to try and do with the pigeon after reading lots of fairy tales for my dissertation, where humans are turned into birds.  I had attended a mould making workshop a while ago, so I set about trying to make a plaster mould of a doll's head. I cast another pigeon and cut her head off and replaced it with a cast of the doll head.



I was really encouraged by the results and tried it again but with a different doll head. This is the point at which my beginner's luck ran out. The second head was heavier than the first and the pigeon body started to collapse. I had to sacrifice her perch and feet so I could salvage the rest. Once she was fired I decided to make her some ceramic and wood wheels to get around on. I think I like her even more than the first one now.

This description makes it sound like it was all quite quick and simple but in fact these pieces were created over a period of several weeks. Now I just can't decide whether or not to colour these latest bird/girl hybrids or keep them white. And should I carry on and make a flock?

Friday, 8 March 2013

Playing with Clay

When I was supposed to be doing my dissertation last semester I was always finding other things I needed to do ie. prevaricating. One of my distractions was playing with the clay which Stephen was using on his course. Over the weeks I ended up with a family of crow people. These photos were taken before they were fired (in case they collapsed in the kiln). I have had very little experience with clay but, while I was distracting myself from writing, other ideas for ceramic pieces were starting to form. But they would have to wait till I finished the dissertation.

But then I couldn't resist drawing the crow family in their nests.


Then I went back to my dissertation.....