Saturday, 27 May 2017

Star tile lineup from the A&S 50 challenge

 Star Tile
 Original tile
 Time / Place

Kashan 1262


Kashan 12th/13th C


13th century, Iran.


















Future tiles are hiding here.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Belated ceramic 48 & 49 - Tiles 12, 13, 14, 15 & 16

The tile project is ongoing! I collected four new tiles this April and I'm so happy with how the design is going. I'm going to start posting my reference chart as well as boast about my project. Forgive the not so amazing picture but it's the best I have.

One of the small 1/4 cross tiles isn't show here as it doesn't have it's matching stars yet. The key (belated) tiles are the three in the bottom left of the image.

Two of the tiles are from one reference panel, the third on the panel is already featured on the right of the middle row.

Lustre tiles. 14th Century. Kashan, Iran. The British Museum. 1888.0109.4

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Why Iran? Why Kashan?

So, I have resolved my first research question:

How did Blue and White ceramics transition from China to Europe?
Turns out they didn't. Blue and white ceramics originated in Iran and spread across the middle east and eventually made it to China. China developed a new style as they were able to fire their glazes at a higher temperature for porcelain. This changed the colour slightly as they were able to burn out arsenic and some of the manganese. China eventually discovered their own deposits of cobalt, but were dependent on imports from Iran for many years. The lighter, stronger porcelain transitioned out of China into Europe along the silk road. It resulted in the revival of Blue on White popularity and the many duplication of patterns onto heavier earthenware. This Asian-appropriation was adopted by the Dutch in their manufactories and given a more European theme (Delft) while the Italians went down the multi-colour path of majolica. Turkey meanwhile, developed their classic red, blue, turquoise of the Iznik style.

The next research question to be answered (it's a two parter):
Why Iran and Why Kashan?
What was it about Kashan that permitted the production of such a large number of tiles? Was it geology, geography or political?
Where did the cobalt actually originate from? There are a number of geological settings that could produce cobalt ores. How was it refined?

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Festival cups

In theory, the cups have all gone to their new owners so I can post the posse of my latest experiments. Three different eras, three different styles and three different colour sets! I'm very please with how these turned out. I was a little unsure if the new glazes would have the right tones and if the shading would work well but I seemed to have nailed the contrast I needed.

Cup 1 reference:
I've been sitting on this reference image for a while. If you've visited my Pinterest collections you'll know I mostly have blue and white ceramics however I am fascinated by other extant artifacts as well. This plate features a black horse with a cheetah on it's back. The original is reportedly in the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco however I haven't been able to find a formal online reference for it. At the moment the only two bits of information come from flicker and trip advisor. Not the best resources. That said, I have managed to find a piece in a similar style, depicting the same subject matter in the Cleveland Museum of Art (here, and info here). The Cleveland one apparently dates to the 900's so it's fair to assume the my one is from around the same time and place.
Horse with Cheetah, 800-1200.Nishapur, Iran. Asian Art Museum, San Francisco. 
Cup 2 reference:
This one turned up when I was trolling The Met for references for a different research project. I stored it away on my Pinterest and when I wanted to make a prize for the Fighter Auction Tourney I thought this would be perfect. I really liked the style of the griffin but wasn't too keen on the rest of the bowl. It didn't translate into a cup as well as the horse did because the griffin is too long compared to it's height. I should have shrunk it down more and put two on the cup with a vine border at the top but i didn't know what the vines would look like until I was done. Ah well, I can always do a reprise if the mood strikes me.
Bowl with Griffin. 11th Century, Egypt. The Met Museum. Item no. 1970.23
Cup 3 reference:
I didn't find this reference. It was passed onto me as a suggestion for a different project. I modified the design at the request of it's new owner to suit her heraldry. This cup is based on a typical Albrello (Drug Jar) which features three sets of wings. When I find the original (I suspect The Met due to the background), I'll post it here.
Albrello (drug jar), Italy. Museum and date unknown.

Pre firing:

Finding myself not so sure about the layout and I modified the nose into a beak
Blue and gold, light yellow and green, gold and red.