The monthly Artist Original Collections are an opportunity for me to create freely, without the boundaries of production. The idea for this collection struck me a few years ago and I couldn't shake it... or find the time to express it. Thankfully that has changed with our new release structure. I sat down at my wheel and began the process of interpreting the vague idea in my mind into something tangible, beautiful, and utterly collectible. This collection is a work in progress but I have a couple sneak peek photos for you!
Each vase is wheel-thrown into a unique form inspired by forms of antiquity. I looked to the classical forms in Asian porcelain as the silhouette inspiration. I've mentioned before on my blog that I'm especially inspired by Chinese pottery from the Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD) and this continues to be a driving source of inspiration for my forms. Ceramics from this time were simplified for their function and the high gloss, translucent celadon glazes highlighted the porcelain beneath it. The decorative elements were more restrained than eras before and after, and any decoration related directly back to the form. Similarly I want my forms to lead with function and elegance with any decorations relating back to the form. I formulated my high gloss, translucent glaze to celebrate the North Carolina made porcelain clay I work with, again keeping to this classic inspiration source.
After exploring a variety of sizes and silhouettes I took to carving each vase by hand. No stencils were used, each vase is carved entirely freehand producing individuality in every single carved line that wraps around the surface of the pot. The placement of each peony flower was decided intuitively as I held the form in my hand. I considered how this piece will look filled with flowers and how it will look sitting empty on display, and placed each line to accentuate the very best qualities of each form.
Then came the painting process. Each design was hand-painted with individual watercolor brushstrokes to create a surface that is even more interesting up close, which invites the viewer into the work. I wanted to take the watercolor inspiration behind my colored glazes up a notch, and worked directly with cobalt as a raw earth material to formulate this watercolor effect. This was another example of looking to classic pottery, this time leaning toward English pottery traditions.
Now that most of the vases are thrown, carved, and I'm beginning to paint each one I wanted to share the story behind this collection with you. I'm also possibly stalling right now writing this blog post because the next step is glazing the ware, and this part is always a little stressful because the glaze firing is when those little surprises tend to pop up. And boy do I really hope that any surprises in store for this collection are only those really good sort of surprises because so much time and love has already gone into these pieces!
Well now that I've admitted that outloud I think it's time to jump off of this post and back into my studio work. So far I've made 18 vases which isn't a lot considering how enthusiastic the feedback has already been about this collection! My goal is to double that number if my studio time allows for it, while keeping these on schedule with a mid-late May release date. As the firing progress is made I'll narrow down the release date and update you guys on instagram and through the newsletter. About the newsletter-- I'm making some changes to how ours works, more below!
If you're reading this and you already know that you must have one of these hand carved and watercolor painted beauties my best advice is to sign up for this newsletter list here. This collection is going to go FAST! This list is specifically for my Artist Original Collections, so even if you're already on the general newsletter list, I would suggest joining this more specialized list because I'm giving priority to the signups on this list.
With our new collection offerings (Artist Originals, Limited Editions, and Ongoing Editions-- read more about these new categories here) you can expect this trend to continue in which we're working to create more specific newsletters for you to best represent the content and products you're most interested in! The goal here is to not only deliver the best, most relevant content to your inbox, it's also a way to give VIP treatment to those who have signed up for specific product updates.
I hope you enjoyed the sneak peek of this in process collection! I can't wait to share it with you!
Join the Artist Original Collection Newsletter List here. You'll receive VIP updates to the latest developments of these highly covetable, super small batch collections released each month and entirely handmade by ceramic artist Lindsay Emery.