I chose ceramic artist Clarice Cliff for inspiration in the second quarter challenge because I liked this plate that she decorated in 1929.
I planned to make a shallow bowl and matching pot plant mat, in the style of Clarice’s plate decoration, using the resist method to make a pod
This is the shape of the shallow bowl I wanted to make. It would be white on the outside (like the reverse of the plate above) and decorated on the whole inside surface. The large circle that would be cut out from the top would not be wasted but would be worked into a pot plant mat.
I have made a similar bowl before using this method so I was confident with my idea.
I took my colour palette from 8 plants that are growing in my garden during the second quarter of 2021 – red, mauve, green, orange, yellow, pink, white, blue.
I cut a circle of paper 24.5cm (9.5”) in diameter then drew shapes on it – similar to those above on the plate – then I coloured in the shapes using the colours of the plants…
…then I set about making 8 pieces of pre-felt to match.
To enable me to cut accurate shapes from the pre-felt I used freezer paper – the paper has wax on one side. Tackling one colour at a time, I traced the shapes onto the non-waxed side of the freezer paper then pressed the paper waxed side down onto the pre-felt using a medium iron for 2-3 seconds.
After cooling, the paper will stick to the felt making it easy to cut the shapes out and the paper will peel away very easily.
Here are the shapes after cutting out – I didn’t realise until I was up to my elbows in wet felt and soap suds that I forgotten to cut 2 of the orange shapes. There should have been 10 – doh!
I placed the paper pattern onto the bamboo mat then covered it with a clear plastic circle. I misted the plastic with soapy water then I made some black yarn wet and very soapy – hopefully to make it ‘sticky’ – then placed it onto the plastic circle following the lines of the paper pattern beneath it.
I dunked the felt shapes, one at a time, in a dish of soapy water then placed them on top of the yarn.
I covered the circle with 2 layers of white merino wool top before flipping it over.
I removed the paper pattern then once again put down the black yarn following the pattern showing through the clear plastic circle.
Then I placed the coloured shapes on top as I did for the first side.
For this project, I put 4 layers of white merino wool tops on each side then worked it as described in the pod tutorial.
I cut the hole, as shown below, leaving only a narrow edge.
I finished the felting process on the circle that I cut away for the pot plant mat, then I turned my attention to the bowl-in-progress.
My plan was to make a shallow bowl in the shape shown below.
I’m not sure what went wrong but the felting gods were definitely not smiling upon me and my shallow bowl didn’t form as I’d planned.
So after a quick re-think I cut away the edge of the non-bowl then turned the remaining circle of felt upside down on a cake tin to form a dish in the shape of a pin-tray by Clarice Cliff (2 pin trays shown below).
It took a lot of soap and persuasion to get it shaped and my fingers looked like prunes after a while but I was very determined!
I did achieve my pot plant mat, but instead of a matching shallow bowl I made a key dish instead!
They would be ideal for a hallway table.
I hope you feel inspired by the 1920’s to make something in your chosen medium, and if you do, please post a photo in the Studio Challenges Section on The Forum.