Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Ceramic 21 - Escher plate (beth's plate)

This plate came about when I was searching for medieval ceramics with a fox motif. Oddly enough, the image below popped up in the google search and I thought it'd look great as a plate. So, I printed it and the image sat in my stack for a while. Right before I moved house, I wanted a non-blue project and thought it was time I started on this image.

I started by using a 6B pencil in a compass. I quartered the plate, and tried to draw circles of the appropriate sizes. I then sketched in some of the fish and got to painting. Getting the balance right on the fins was the biggest challenge on this plate (and I still didn't quite manage it). I kept having to switch between colours so I could see how the fish fit together. Because I didn't consider the complex mathematical background to this piece, I ended up getting the diameter of some of the circles wrong. This caused the potential for colour overlap in some small places. It wasn't until I was almost finished that I found THIS paper, which discusses the geometrical construction of this image... ah well, I'm still pleased with the plate even though it isn't medieval.

This one will be gifted to my sister for the occasion of her 27th birthday which is why this post is out of sequence with the rest. I've scheduled it to self post on Christmas day.

An angled view shows the wrap of the fish motif up the curve of the plate better.

On earrings

Jain art - Celestial performer Kapasutra manuscript folio Gujarat 1490

I found an interesting blog that has some musing on late period Indian garb. I'm not sure when I found this blog. I'm pretty sure I got there through a tab explosion one night while researching choli patterns. Due to my bust exceeding my rib cage by a significant value, I am on a never ending quest to find a period choli that a) I can sew and pattern myself, and b) supports my bust, or at least doesn't look saggy/sack like. But I digress, the blog in question is written by a Laurel type from Meridies (I think) who appears to be into cooking, and late period Indian (16th century, heavy persian influence).

While browsing her back catalog of posts, I found one on late period earrings. Her main focus was the revelation regarding the pointy ones you see in the upper ear. (read it here). During her discussion, and within a different post about garbing for a feast she ran, she references hoop earrings. She also has a post about some lovely hoop laurel earrings she made out of femo and beetle wings. She offers two explanations for the shape; first they may be stretching hoops, or second they may be loops that depend from the ear. She seems to favour the second type.

I have been researching jewellery myself and I would suggest the earrings in question are stretching hoops. In the images below (yes, I've posted it before) you can see both wealthy women and nuns. The nuns, who have limited worldly goods, have earlobes that are clearly stretched and dangle loosely without the bulk of the earring seen in the women in the right.

Detail from a folio from a Kalpasutra Manuscript. Gujarat, 1350. Ink and opaque watercolor on palm leaf. Page 86 in Indian Painting, 1000-1700, by Pratapaditya Pal. ISBN: 0810834655 

The stretched earlobes could be explained by the weight of gold loops exerting pressure on the skin over time (recall seeing overly stretched and grotesque old 'lady' ears?) however the ascetics don't appear to be that old. In the next image from the Ajanta caves, you can clearly see the earlobe stretched around the hoop on the lady on the left.

Also, this group of statues from Khajuraho shows a beautiful lady wearing disks served by an attendant whos ears droop.

I do not plan on stretching my earlobes anytime in the near future, so I will stick to the more dangle type of earring such as those below.

 Earrings Object ID: B86M6.1-.2 300-500 Gold and Garnets These earrings came from Gandhara, the ancient kingdom located in what is now southern Afghanistan and northern Pakistan. A famous school of Buddhist art flourished there from the 1st to the 4th century A.D., characterized by sculptures carved in a mixture of Graeco-Roman and Indian styles. Although Gandharan sculptures are included in most museums' collections, jewelry from Gandhara is rare. Asian Art Museum of San Francisco

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Cherry onsie

I made this one for Berengar and Rachel's first. I don't know if they're having a boy or a girl, but I thought this'd be a little different. And yes, I did make them a kthulu onsie as well...

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Persian block printed scarf II

From closer examination of Persian head scarf images from the previous post, I think the argument for square / triangle is actually misdirected. If we examine no.5 from the previous post and assume a regular pattern in the fabric, the head scarf  is deliberately cut in more of a brontosaurus style, that is to say, skinny at the head/tail ends with a sort of Gaussian slope towards the wide center. The length of the tales appears to be a little over a quarter of the overall width. I propose the headscarf is cut more as a T shape:

Where A is the width of your head from temple to temple, B the measurement from your temple to your shoulder and C the measurement from your crown to your cervical vertebrae. So that's my next accessory project... after I finish moving house anyway.

Ceramic 22 - Tile 8

This is the last tile I'm going to post for sometime. There's nothing really new to say about them except post a picture of the finished tile, and the reference tiles. GIven that I plan on making 25, that's going to get mighty boring mighty fast. So I might post update photo's of the tiles together from time to time.

Tile 8, row 2.

CENTRAL IRAN, LATE 13TH CENTURY This design appears as the central design on a number of Kashan lustre star tiles bearing dates of the second half of the 13th century. It is however very unusual to find it without any inscription border at all. This tile is very similar to the centre of one of the large star tiles made for the Imamzada Yahya at Veramin, dated 1262 but painted on a smaller size tile and thus excluding the inscription border. Sold by Christies in 2004. Link and Image found on Invaluable.com, an auction search engine.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Ceramic 20 - Pheasant plate

Lobed plate featuring a bird (peasant?)

Why: Because I could, and because I had a spare lobed plate from the Sultanabad Dove project and wanted a design that would transfer to my predetermined shape better. Also, I've been doing so many tiles, I thought I'd take a break and use up some of my bisque stockpile.
I'll sell this one, and the dove plate at Rowany Festival next year. I might even enter the Laurel Prize Tourney (which isn't a tourney, only involves Laurels in a feedback sort of way, and has no prizes) with the tiles.


Original plate is 17cm in diameter, while my copy is 24.5cm. The original plate had 10 lobes, while my plate has 14. Due to it's increased size, my version is a dinner plate rather than a saucer and the lobes are still reasonably in proportion to the rest of the design.

The original was fritware with the decoration in overglaze luster, while my design is created in underglaze with no luster. This is because I am currently working primarily with underglaze, as they are the resources I have access to. I haven't mixed my own glazes and I am restricted in what methods I can attempt until I invest some money in supplies, and find a work space that isn't my bedroom.

Lobed saucer, fritware with overglaze lustre painting, 12th C, Kashan, Iran Ashmolean Museum.

Some modern lustre resources I've found:

Good youtube video showing the process and result.

Ceramics monthly article on Lustre, brief introduction with medieval reference to Iran

This is the first thing I'm going to experiment with once I get a workshop and the kiln working properly.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Persian block printed head scarf.

 Some Persian head scarves, possibly block printed:

1                                                                                  2
 3                                                                  4

Head scarf examples. Patterns range from simple monotone, to complicated potential brocades or embroidery. All involve a triangular (or folded square) headscarf, draped over what appears to be a circular cap and braid case of a different fabric (often the same as the pants). Recently on the Persian Clothiers facebook group there was recent discussion on the shape of these headscarves. I propose that the contrasting colours on no. 2 & no. 4 (red & white / orange ) indicates a single layer whereas the two sided print and potential for two points on no. 5 suggest towards a double layer resulting from a square shape. The shape of no.'s 1 and 3 are indeterminate. No. 1 shows the same pattern on the underside, which may be a woven, reversible fabric or a doubled over square shape.

So I started with a square design because it's easier to measure and cut. I cut it out, block printed it with my quatra-heart stamp, ironed it and then machine sewed the hems.  As you can see below, the square is a little too small, too stiff and really the wrong shape. I also used an artifical silk scarf for the braid case and the cotton headscarf kept slipping off. Quite vexing.
Marshalling at November Crown, Stormhold, 2013.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Ceramic 17 - Tile 5

Tile 5

It's getting harder and harder to find good crosses. I tried three different ones for this tile. One of them was a rather floral, skinny cross. I started with a solid background and carved the flowers into it. It really didn't work well. The original was too skinny and I couldn't reproduce the dimensions, even after removing one of the flowers. I guess I was right to avoid animals and such figures. Upon investigation, the tile is Tamurid not what I'm looking for

So I painted over it and carved a more swirly pattern (below). I've only managed to find one, not very good at all, image of this cross and had to extrapolate. I'm rather happy with how it turned out but as the glaze was so thick, this tile has a texture to it.

Cross tile from the mausoleum of Imamzada Yahya in Veramin near Tehran. Part of a panel of glazed lustre-ware tiles. State Hermitage Museum. Inv. nos IR 1026-1062. 1097 - 1118.

The other cross on this tile is also a new one. The cross in the image below on the left is the one I used. It's in the Louvre as a panel. The image in the Louvre is small, but there's a good collection of representative images of different regions and art styles at the Walter Chapin Simpson Centre for Humanities.

Details of panel made of individual tiles.
Iran, Kashan, 1267 CE/665 AH. Fritware, overglaze lustre with color splashes. The panel if from the tomb of imamazade Djafar at Damghan. Inv. no.: OA 6319. Website (photo shows whole panel). Individual panels can be found here.

It saddens me that so many tiles have been pillaged from the Imamzada Yahya mausoleum. It's good that they are ending up in museums so internet hobbiests like me can appreciate them, but I really think they should have stayed on the mausoleum. I'm feeling particularly annoyed by it at the moment because there's a whole bunch of tiles in Shangri La, Honolulu, a rich woman's beautiful home. There are no good close up images but there's treasure upon treasure there, all hoarded away. It's like taking fossils from the rocks - these are things that will never occur again. They should be left for others to appreciate rather than squirreled away by people who have more resources than sense.

Tile 5. First of the second line.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Ceramic 16/18/19 - Tiles 4, 6 & 7

Tiles 6, 4 and 7

Tile 4 is the terminus star tile (in the center). So there are no new cruciforms, just one star. I still haven't decided how big my tile panel is going to be, but I do know where one end is now. Tile 6 and 7 are edge tiles, covering only one quarter cruciform. I'm quite happy with how these three turned out and look forward to completing the whole set.

This close up shows how much better I am at getting the quarter cruciforms to line up.

The original star tile is one of a group of 12 tiles auctioned at Bonhams in 2008. The tiles are Kashan and date from the 12/13th century. As has been my policy throughout this tile project, I've removed the writing and replaced it with a wide blue border.

Saturday, 16 November 2013


Notes from Persian Ceramics from the 9th to the 14th century:

An alkaline solution obtained with potassium oxide is easily altered and ceramic objects will often take on a very characteristic iridescence if they come into contact with the earth or other chemical agents.

(This explains the iridescence seen in the peacock plate! I wonder if this iridescence was ever deliberately engineered by burying items or soaking them in special solutions)

Cobolt was imported from Europe via Venice. Muzarrad is a black stone used to make black, probable utilising antimony and comes from the mountains of Jajarm in Khorasan, Eastern Iran.

Turquoise is obtained from copper oxide and an alkaline glaze (well ozygenized). Copper oxide and a lead glaze (in reduction) produces green hues as well.

Bowl, 12th century, Iran. Met Museum of Art, Accession number: 29.160.12. Showing a slight hint of the iridescence.

Friday, 15 November 2013

THe Ashmoelean on Iranian tiles

From the Ashmolean on Iranian tiles:

Tiles were not produced in great quantities before circa 1200, and large-scale tile production kicks off at basically the same moment as the new "Kashan" style of painting: it is rare to find tiles decorated in the "Monumental" or "Miniature" styles althought they do exist. However, from the turn of the C13th, much of finest work of the Kashan potters is on tiles. The two prominent figures in this development are the potters Muhammad ibn Abu Tahir and Abu Zaid, who are known through signatures to have worked together on the most important tilework projects of the pre-Mongol period.
Their earliest dated joint effort is a sarcophagus in the tomb-chamber at Qumm, where the top panel is signed by Muhammad and the main frieze is signed by Abu Zaid. This work is dated 1206. At Mashhad in 1215 they undertake a much more ambitious project, cladding the walls in star and octagonal tiles surmounted by an inscription frieze, and installing two large and elaborate mihrabs, one of which is signed by Abu Zaid as well as a number of the star tiles. This is extremely high quality work, and shows that Abu Zaid produced some of the best products of the whole Kashan industry. There has been some confusion over dating this shrine, because two dates exist side by side in the inscriptions: 1215 and 1118. It is now thought that the tiling dates to the C13th, but the earlier date is included to commemorate the decoration that was replaced in 1215.
This pre-Mongol era in tile production sees a peak of artistic and technical achievement that is never again matched. The sudden decline in tile production after 1220 may be a result of the first wave of Mongol invasions, but may be equally due to the death of the pottery industry’s two major figures, Muhammad ibn Abu Tahir and Abu Zaid. The former’s last dated work was 1215 (Mashhad) and the latter’s was 1219. Thereafter there appears to be a vacuum which proves difficult to fill.

From this vacuum emerges the next generation of potters, who attempt to imitate the high quality work of their predecessors, and who do produce some masterpieces, but the technique and quality of execution is generally more simplified and standardised than the earlier products. The leading lights of the next generation emerge first in the 1220s and 1230s, but their artistic talents do not really emerge until the resumption of large-scale tile production in the 1260s. Hasan ibn al-Arabshah signed the mihrab from the Maidan Mosque in Kashan (d.1226) which according to Watson is timid and restrained in design; the son of Muhammad ibn Abu Tahir, Ali, produces a mihrab in 1242 for Mashhad, in which the cobalt has run badly, implying Ali’s technical skills are not yet developed.
Very few dated pieces are known from the period 1220 – 1260, but thereafter a number of grand commissions by the new Il-Khanid rulers stimulate the Kashan industry into a resurgence of productivity, in which Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Abu Tahir dominates. The major complex of the 1260s is the tomb-chamber of Imamzada Yahya at Veramin. The Ashmolean holds a group of these tiles in its collection. There are a series of lustre tiles from different dates from this complex, beginning with star and cross tiles dated 1262; a large mihrab is dated Sha’ban 1265, and another mihrab is added to the complex in Muharram 1305, signed by Ali’s son Yusuf.
The tomb-chamber of Imamzada Ja’far at Damghan (d.1266-7) is the next big dated complex with lots of lustre decoration: star and cross tiles survive with animal and human figural decoration, and inscriptions bearing Persian poems. There is a beautiful panel of these tiles in the Louvre. The sizes of the tiles are smaller, and they use blue and turquoise in the design. Watson thinks the drawing naïve compared to pre-Mongol production, but the technical quality is excellent.
The most important commission in the 1270s is the extensive palace complex at Takht-i Sulaiman, built by Abaqa Khan: this is the sole surviving secular building of this period which has lustre decoration. It is lavishly decorated in tiles of different techniques including lajvardina, which is the medium in which the new Chinese designs (phoenix, dragons, lotuses) especially appear. Star and cross tiles with inscriptions in Persian verse are dated 1271, 1272 and 1275; pictorial friezes show scenes of hunting and fighting, and also scenes from the Shah-Nameh: a lustre tile frieze tile in the V&A shows the hero Bahram Gur hunting with his favourite concubine Azada.

The next upturn in production is the first decade of C14th: in November 1300, 250 tiles were installed in mosque of Ali in Quhrud near Kashan. These bear arabesque and floral motifs, and Quranic inscriptions; further tiles were added in 1307, identical in style though with inscriptions in Persian verse. Yusuf ibn Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Abu Tahir also signs an inscription frieze dated 1310-11. After this, production again tails off, with a final and surprising burst of activity in the1330s when Yusuf signs a large mihrab for Imamzada Ja’far in Qumm (1334); a series of star tiles installed in same building d.1337 contain two which are inscribed: "…in the place Kashan in the workshop of Sayyid of Sayyids, Sayyid Rukn al-Din Muhammad son of the late Sayyid Zain al-Din Ali, the potter; the work of the most noble, the most excellent master, Master Jamal, the painter (al-naqqash)."
A few other tiles carry dates in the 1330s, but the very last dated item to be produced from Kashan kilns is a star tile bearing the date 1339. In the year before this, another star tile bears the desperate plea: "…in the place Kashan, may Allah, be He exalted, protect it from the ravages of time." Was this a cry for help in the face of declining orders? 


Also visit the above website for dish shapes

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Wisdom of the ages pt I

I present Wisdom of the Ages, part I. And by ages, I mean my grandfathers pottery diary he kindly gave me when he realized I was interested in glazes. Originally I didn't realize how valuable this little notebook was, but it contains years of experiments and notes on glazes and firing regimes so I have decided to transcribe some of it here so it won't be lost when he passes on and I eventually lose the book or die myself. This book was written by a man who can write in 7 languages and speak 10. Before coming to Australia he worked as a translator in The Netherlands. Once here, the only positions he could find to support his family were menial jobs, such as working on the production lines of a moccasin or glass factory.
He is a thin wiry man who enjoys digging holes in outback Australia and looking for opals even though he's had a triple bypass. As the only grandparent I have left he continues to impress me and each time I see him I do my best to learn more about him before he's gone forever.

In transcribing his book, please forgive the spelling mistakes or random words. Poppa writes in a beautiful flowing cursive hand which can be difficult to translate at times.

Decorating with slips or engobe

Slips or engobe is a mixture of clay, water and colouring oxides. The most refined form (Terra sigillata?) seived through 200 mesh mill burnish to a high polish without glazing.

Stir the slip regularly, otherwise it will separate. Dip the pot briefly, the shake off any drips.

Cut out paper stenciles. Sponge the newsprint carefully onto the surface. Dip. When dry, the paper stencil can be peeled carefully away.

In sgraffito ? decorating the dipped slip is scratched away in lines or areas, to reveal the contrasting colour of the clay beneath.

When using terra sigillata on a fine clay surface, leave the pot after it returns to leatherhard for some tume until it is almost starting to dry out. Then polish the surface with the back of a metal spoon..

In slip braiding, the slip is piped through a rubber bull in the manner of icing a cake. Experiment on leatherhard clay; any mistakes can be easily sponged off. Before starting, expell all air from the container - shake it to make the air rise to the surface; then gently squeeze it out

Trailing on a wet ground, horizontal surfaces can be covered with an even layer of slip - then trail a contrasting slip onto the set surface. Work quickly and when finished, tap the supporting board to flatten the slip covered surface.

Marblling is done as above with a variety of trailed slip colours in a simple design of lines or blobs. Just leave off tapping the board, agitate it with a quick circular motion until the slip colours begin to swirl into each other.

Feathering is draggin thin strands of one colour of braided slip into another using a single broom bristle on a pen.

Cut plastic foam into a variety of shapes and use these to sponge slip onto the leatherhard surface.

10th C Bowl, Iran. White Engobe / Slip has been scratched to crate a decorative border which states "Planning before work protects you from regret; prosperity and peace". Met Museum of Art, Accession No. 65.106.2.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Preliminary documentation for potential November Crown A&S entry. Pt 1

Preliminary documentation for potential November Crown A&S entry - an Illuminated letter

H (12)
Title Codex Vindobonensis Palatinus 1173
Description Zoomorphic initial H. Dragon.<br>Bible. Old Testament: Job, Tobias, Judith, Esther, Machabaeorum II, Isaias, Jeremias, Baruch et Ezechial
Date 15th century
Source 17560
Language Latin
Folio 199 f.
Further Information For further information, visit http://www.hmml.org
City Wien
Library Österreichische Nationalbibliothek
Country Austria
Shelfmark Codex Vindobonensis Palatinus 1173
Folio Number f.123v
ImgBC IM00025587

T, R, C, S, Y, M (13)

Secondary source, The art of illuminating as practised in  Europe from the earliest times. Illustrated by borders, initila letters and alphabets, selected and chromolithographed by W.R Tymms. With an essay and instructions by MD. Wyatt, archt. Published 1866 by Day in London

Plate detail: 12th Century. Mr Henry Shaw, in his beautiful work on illuminated manuscripts has devoted no less than eight plates, giving an entire alphabet of initial letters, to the illustration of the remarkable MS, which is well known as the Harleian No. 2800 and which has furnished the material for the Plate under notice, as well as for our pl. 28 of the same century. Sir Frederic Madden considers the MS. to be "written in the class of character which came into use at the close of the 12th century, and which formed the link between the round open letter of the preceding century and a half and the square or Gothic letter of later period.
(caption for plate 28 reads: the alphabets have been selected form the Harleian MSS No 2,800 which contains in three large folio volumes a series of lives of Saints for the whole year. The voluyme formerly belonged to the Monastery of St Mary and St Nicholas at Arnstein in the diocese of Treves. The initial letters throughout are for the most part executed in red, with the grounds of the scroll-work, of which they are composted, filled in with light blue and green, after the usual German manner of the 12th century. The drawing of the altogether conventional foliage is good throughout the whole work, which is ascribed by Sir Frederic Madden to "about the year 1190".

R (14)
Bibliothèque nationale de France, Latin 1173, two initials from f. 52r. Horae ad usum Parisiensem. France, 1475-1500.

O or Q (15)

Saint Michael and the Dragon in an initial Q by an Unknown master German, Würzburg, about 1240 - 50 Getty Museum

This illustrated copy of The lamentations of Jeremiah with the gloss (or interpretation) of Gilbert of Auxerre was written in Austria in the second half of the twelfth century and comes from the monastery of Seitenstetten. Gilbert died in 1134, and the manuscript is an early and important witness to his text. The gloss is written in a small script and is both interlinear and marginal. This layout is typical of glossed books of the Bible from the twelfth century. The illustrations of the sack of Jerusalem and the return to Babylon give valuable information on twelfth-century armor. The manuscript is in its original binding.
For a page-turning view of this manuscript, visit art.thewalters.org/detail/19816/gloss-on-the-lamentations...
For high-resolution images and full cataloging information, visit www.thedigitalwalters.org/Data/WaltersManuscripts/html/W30/

 Dragon with its tail tied in a knot. The initial "F" from a 12th-century manuscript at Stift Zwettl, Austria, Codex Zwettlensis 208 : HMML Color Microfilms

A dragon forms part of the initial "B" in a manuscript from Stift Klosterneuburg, Austria, Codex Claustroneoburgensis 710 : HMML Color Microfilms


 Detail of a miniature of the dragon constellation ('Draco'), in tables from Ptolemy's Almagest. Arundel 66 John Killingworth, Ptolemy, Guido Bonatti, Plato of Tivoli Almagest (extract), Liber Astronomiae, Liber Arenalis, astronomical and geomantic tables, political prophecies England, S. E. (London) 1490 Latin and French Gothic cursive

Historiated initial 'U' depicting an interlacing pattern and fantastical animals, from the Bible of Saint-Andre aux-Bois (vellum) creator French School, (12th century)
lettre ornee d'entrelaces et d'animaux fantastiques;
Bibliotheque de l'Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, France
vellum 12th (C12th)
Second page with decorated initial S.
Minute  for  Le Miroir de la Salvation humaine .
Bibliothèque Royale, Brussels, Ms. 9249–50, fol. 1 verso.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

GoCAD helpful tips

GoCAD crashed?
Lost your unsaved data?

Well, you've made a rookie mistake and there's no recovering from that. You'll have to redo your work. I can however offer a useful tip for unlocking the project that crashed so you don't have save it as another name and create folder after folder highlighting all of your mistakes.

Go into your project folder and delete the file that starts with:

gocad_lock_read_(non-random numbers)

Your file should now be unlocked. If you want to try this without deleting a precious file, change the extension to .BAK (backup) by simply typing .bak on the end of the file name.

Second helpful tip:

The project folder is for GoCAD's use. If you save over the now unlocked file with changes you've made since, GoCAD may spitefully delete any additional files you've put in this folder, including those lovely images of your model during construction that you agonized over.

Third helpful tip:

Many people get involved in their work and forget to save important changes. Set a timer on your desk or make sure you save your project every time you get another coffee, or interact with someone in the office. Backup your projects frequently, preferentially to an external drive that is nowhere near your desk or building.

These helpful tips were brought to you by the resignation of recreating the model I just lost, and the experience of dropping my primary drive and losing 3 months of un-backed up work.


Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Kthulu onsie

I've been busy with moving house so haven't made anything new recently. I do have three half written posts about completed tiles needing photographs but they'll have to wait until I get a camera. In the mean time, I made this a while ago:

(the Kthulu onsie, not the baby)

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Embroidered cushion Mk II - Complete

I finished the embroidery on this cushion a couple of weeks ago, it just took me a while to get the zip in and finish the sewing. I've completed this just in time too, I'm moving house soon so everything is in packing chaos and I've found so many UFO's I'm being buried by the pile! I fixed the zip issue with this one by using a 59 cm long zip rather than a 61cm one. The pillow fits well in the case and is just squishy enough. It goes nicely with the first one too (which you can just make out in the background). I still haven't bought a walking foot so I'm not going to try sewing gorget again anytime soon.

I'm really happy with how some of the squares turned out. I'm especially happy with the argyle sort of one (top left), the check (upper right middle) and the circles (lower left). The design I'm most happy with is the spiral (image below). I got the idea from Dimity's Fibre Adventures, a blog I stumbled upon when looking for examples of button hole stitch. Her spiral was made with buttonhole stitch and beads. I didn't incorporate the beads, lord knows I have plenty) because I don't want bead patterns on my face when I nap on this cushion. I also like the texture of the larger stitches and I didn't want glass or plastic interfering with that.
I made my spiral by sewing the spiral in running stitch. Then I went back and made each stitch a square U shape and placed a long stitch between them.

Though I've got to finish some items from my UFO pile, I'm thinking of making more experimental cushions.  Suggestions are always welcome!

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Places to paint ceramics around Australia


328a Glen Eira Rd

568 Hampton Street


Colour MeMine
Shop 4, 29 Holtermann Street
Crows Nest


Shop 3 Sandgate Arcade
Cnr Brighton Rd & Cliff St


17a Rose Street,
Mile End
(also a good place to buy home supplies, assuming you have a kiln)


29 Winton Rd,

8/2 Hulme Ct

Monday, 23 September 2013

Choli tops in Medieval Indian art

Some reference images I'm gathering for my class on choli tops for Rowany Festival.

Detail from a folio from a Kalpasutra Manuscript. Gujarat, 1350. Ink and opaque watercolor on palm leaf. Page 86 in Indian Painting, 1000-1700, by Pratapaditya Pal. ISBN: 0810834655
The image above shows two nuns separated from two ladies. The lady in the front is identified as Hiradevi, the chief hearer. Both ladies wear mid length choli tops over which they wear arm bangles.

One of a Pair of Jain Manuscripts (Patli), early 12th century India (Gujarat) Opaque watercolor on wood  Central figure wears a mid length choli top in contrasting colours.

Detail from a folio, Manjusri and Scenes from the Buddha's life. Bihar, Nalanda, 1075. Image of the goddess Prajnaparamita. Page 57 in Indian Painting, 1000-1700, by Pratapaditya Pal. ISBN: 0810834655  The goddess either wears a short choli top and arm jewellery, or a mid length choli top which has been embroidered or had jewels sewn on. The goddesses feet and hands seem to be coloured red, suggesting the use of henna perhaps. (not the delicate and intricate patterns we see at ren faires today though).

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Ceramic experiment 15 - Tile 3

Star and cross tiles in a manuscript. From Bābur Seeks His Grandmother's Advice Leaf from the Read Mughal Album, but formerly fol. 86 in the British Library's Bāburnāma. Mughal, ca. 1590–92, probably by Sānvalah, with early-nineteenth-century borders. 440 x 294 mm  MS M.458.18. The Morgan Library & Museum.

Star tile, Iran, Kashan, 1260-1270. The Met Museum. Accession Number: 41.165.22

I have completed my third islamic tile. It has also been designed to link to tiles 1 and 2. I'm rather happy with how it came out. While I can't claim this is an experiment, this is part of my ongoing A&S 50 challenge. Given that I'm now at number 15, and I have another 35 to complete in a little over a year and a half, I need to get cracking.

Tile from Iran, Kashan, 1000-1250. LACMA Kashan tile, 13th Century. Met Museum of Art.

Tiles 2, 1, and 3 in order.