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Modern Chinoiserie Vase

by Frederick

I have the chance to express myself creatively without being constrained by production requirements thanks to the monthly artist original collections. A few years ago, I had the inspiration for this collection and couldn’t get it out of my head—or find the time to write about it. Thank goodness, with our new release structure, that has changed. I got down at my wheel and started to translate the hazy notion in my head into something concrete, lovely, and completely collectable. Although I just have a few preview images for you, this collection is still in construction.

Each vase is handcrafted on a wheel and has a distinctive shape drawn from ancient designs. For the idea for the silhouette, I referred to the traditional shapes in Asian porcelain. Chinese ceramics from the song dynasty (960–1279 ad), which I’ve previously described on my blog, continues to be a major source of inspiration for my shapes. The high gloss, transparent celadon glazes from this period emphasized the porcelain underneath them. Ceramics from this era were streamlined for their use. Compared to earlier and later periods, the ornamental elements were more restrained, and any embellishment had a clear connection to the form. Similar to this, I want all of my shapes to be elegant and functional, with any ornamentation tying back to the form. In line with this historical source of inspiration, I created my high gloss, transparent finish to honor the north Carolina-made porcelain clay I use.

I started carving each vase by hand after experimenting with a range of sizes and shapes. Each chinoiserie vase is totally freehand carved without the use of stencils, giving each line that encircles the pot its own unique character. I held the shape in my hand, deciding instinctively where to put each peony petal. I put each line to highlight the greatest features of each shape after thinking about how this sculpture would appear both packed with flowers and empty on display.

The painting procedure followed. The surface of each design was hand-painted with distinct watercolor brushstrokes to provide an intriguing up-close look that draws the observer into the piece. In order to create this watercolor impression, i worked directly with cobalt as a raw earth element, taking my colorful glazes’ watercolor inspiration to a new level. Another instance of appealing to traditional pottery, this time with an emphasis on English pottery customs.

I wanted to share the history of this collection with you now that the majority of the vases have been thrown, carved, and I’m starting to paint each one individually. The fact that the ware has to be glaze-fired is another reason I could be putting off posting this blog post. Glazing the ware is usually a bit stressful since that’s when those tiny unforeseen problems tend to arise. And since so much effort and love has already gone into these items, boy do i truly hope that any surprises in store for this collection are just those very fantastic kinds of surprises!

Now that I’ve said it out loud, I believe it’s time to leave this post and return to my studio work. Considering how well received this collection has already been, I’ve only manufactured 18 vases so far. If I have the time in the studio, I’d want to increase that amount while still keeping them on track for a mid-late may release. I’ll inform you guys on Instagram and via the newsletter as the firing process progresses and as i get closer to the release date.

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