Enamelling with Pauline

I spent an very enjoyable day recently, working with Pauline Hughes, ceramic artist and good friend.

Pauline's work centers on creating figurative forms that possess a strong physical presence.
She works both three dimensionally carving distinctive forms from the clay and two dimensionally on wall plaques which utilise the scraffito technique to fashion her images.

Her aim in these test plates were to see how the methods and images that she works with translated into enamel......

This piece was first covered with a fired base coat of white enamel. A subsequent layer of black enamel was sifted over and then the drawing was scratched through, using cocktail /wood sticks.
It's not apparent on the photo, but the surface was really pleasing as the furrows of scraffito added to the overall impression of the work.

In this piece, again a white surface was fired, but this time stoned back to a matt finish. Using an ordinary graphite pencil, Pauline then drew the face. The piece was fired back to a gloss finish, fusing the pencil drawing into the enamel. It would have been quite nice to matt the piece back again, but the drawing was lovely and subtle, the areas of tone where the drawing was less defined were really beautiful.

This piece is my favourite. Here Pauline firstly fired a white base coat, then painted a layer of black enamel paint which she left to dry. When dry she scratched her drawing into the surface and fired the piece. The granular surface was created by under firing the subsequent flux layer.
This gave her the added dimension of an alternative textural surface, which I think added something to the quality of the drawing.
We established quite a few ways of developing ideas for new ways in which to work, using enamel. The "Plus Factor" was that it was a such a lovely day and we had good fun exploring all the different alternatives. It was so beneficial to be able to spend some time working with another artist, sharing thoughts and ideas. Looking at things from a different perspective is always a great bonus, and an enlightening experience.