In recent months most of my making time has been taken up with commission work and Etsy orders. This has been joyous and I've been thrilled and often challenged by each new request. Things are always a little quieter in the New Year though, and the slight lull has allowed me time to think of new designs.
Last week I finished two commissions and had some freshly ground enamels to use up. Sometimes my enamelling plans are so numerous that they tumble over eachother in my head. It's often tricky to find time to try them out. On Sunday, though, I set aside the chores and made some sketches.
The Mr took the little ones out for an hour or two. I'd been wanting to try to make a piece inspired by the wintry meadows here on the edge of the Fens. Dry grasses and plants may not be as noticeable or colourful as their summer counterparts but I think they're starkly beautiful and I love the variety of shapes of the seedheads.
Inspired by bladder campion, wild fennel and sorrel stems on our Fen grasslands, I made the texture in the clay, dried and fired it and then mixed some enamel. I wanted the pendant to be a wearable colour but to also echo the colours of the wintry plants so included a touch of yellow in the mix. The picture above was taken just as it cooled enough to be held and before I polished the white oxide from around the edges. I hope to make a series of these.
In recent days I had been for a walk in the village wood to see if the mild weather last week had brought us any closer to Spring. To my delight I discovered that some shoots I'd spotted on New Years Day had grown into rather tall, elegant snowdrops and that nearby there was a clump of aconites, brightly cheerful and seriously thrilling to find. My discovery inspired not only this months Garlic and Sapphire blogpost about spotting signs of Spring but also this new enamelled aconite design, which has helped to develop my slip trailing skills. Prior to adding the enamel I made texture on the silver to echo veins in both the petals and the leaves. I'm using a similar technique to that used by William Moorcroft on his floral ceramics but on a much smaller scale. As I make more pieces like this I hope to become a little more confident with blending and applying the enamel on the surface.