Reflective Essay2

Reflective Essay – Design Practice 2 – Janet Nuttall
The first year of the programme was spent experimenting with making tiles and surface decoration
using coloured slips, relief, mark making and application of oxides. The inspiration for my work
continues to come from the landscapes and seascapes in the South of France. Blue has been a
recurring feature of the slip decoration of all the work I have produced so far. This is because of the
intensity of the unbroken blue sky in the Mediterranean landscapes and its reflection in the sea.
Following the assessment for design practice 1 module I continued to reflect on my progress and to
consider the future direction of my work. At that time I was still interested in tiles but I felt
somewhat constrained by this 2D approach and could not see how I could develop the tiles any
further. I decided to build two vessels using slabs and to use the surface designs from the last tiles
on these vessels (see portfolio and blog). The results were very interesting and gave me confidence
to experiment further with slab building vessels. To help with this new avenue of investigation I
looked at the work of other ceramicists, notably Bente Hansen, Sam Hall and Sophie-Elizabeth
Thompson ( I experimented with undulations in the walls of the
vessels, achieved by draping slabs over cardboards tubes. This resulted in interesting forms which
were more suggestive of landscapes than straight sided vessels.
I have continued to develop the slip d+++++++++++++++++++++++ecoration techniques used in year
one and have become more skilful and consistent in the results I achieve. Throughout the module I
have endeavoured to develop the abstract nature of the surface design using layers of slip
decoration, mono printing and textures through mark making on the surface. For the most part I
have been very satisfied with the results. My aim is always to give a sense of looking into the
distance as in viewing the landscape or seascape. Layers of slip decoration using different colours
and textures and finally the application of oxides gives a sense of depth to the surface decoration.
The works of Karen Howarth, Sam Hall and Clare Conrad have been good sources of inspiration in
achieving texture and mark making as have the artists Van Gogh and Monet.
Early in the module I made the decision to change from earthenware to stoneware. I did this
following some experimentation using thinly applied transparent stoneware glaze over the usual slip
and oxide decorated surface. The results were strikingly different, giving a much greater sense of
depth. I have continued to develop in this direction but I have now ceased using the transparent
glaze all together. This is because the finish can be quite dull if the glaze is too thickly applied and it
has been difficult to get consistent results. I also experimented with producing engobes by addition
of potash feldspar to prepared slips in increasing percentages. The results showed no significant
differences over the usual slips so I decided to continue with slips but to omit the transparent glaze. I
also changed the method of application of the background slip decoration from brushing to stippling
with a sponge. This gave better depth of colour and resolved the issue of visible brush strokes which
detracted from the overall effect.
Finding success with the vessel forms and looking at the sculptural forms created by SophieElizabeth Thompson returned my thoughts to tiles. I designed two tiles incorporating curved profiles,
the first running vertically or horizontally and the second diagonally. Tuition in model and mould
making in plaster meant that I now have two press moulds which enables me to reproduce the same
forms repeatedly. I made two triptychs using each form, applying the same surface design as on the
vessels. +++++++++++++++++++++++
Janet Nuttall 20611007
Finally, I have further developed the 3D forms from vessels to more sculptural forms by inverting the
vessel form. This has really freed up the design possibilities and will enable me to develop the forms
in the future. Similarly I want to continue to develop the surface decoration by changing the colour
palette, introducing different backgrounds such as orange and black which I think will still be in
keeping with the theme of the project.
In summary I feel I have made significant progress during this module and my work has taken on a
more refined finish. I am pleased with the progress I have made and the new skills I have attained.
One of the aims I had for this module was to refine all the processes I use in the production of my
pieces so that they are reproducible and consistent and I feel that I am well on the way to achieving
this. My aim for the future is to continue to develop the forms and surface decoration of my work in
line with my identified theme.
Janet Nuttall
7th May 2015k++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Janet Nuttall 20611007