Returning to terracotta

Reflecting on my glaze process, I was very happy with the result of my terracotta piece at the beginning of the unit from the tangible tasks. The dark colour of the terracotta shows through the satin matt white and created this beautiful mottled pattern, pooling in certain spots but leaving the texture visible.

To achieve the same effect again, I want to create a terracotta version of the personified vessels I’ve been developing. It will be interesting to see how the glaze effect compares to that of my oxide on stoneware, and which works better to create the look of ageing/decay and triggers emotion within onlookers. I also wanted to try building another vessel shape, experimenting to see how far I could push my material. With this object, I wanted to experiment with how high I could build the structure.

I also wanted to further personify this vessel as felt my previous stoneware one didn't achieve this well enough. To do this, I sculpted a nose and two ears and added them to the surface.

Final form:

I think this is my most successful form yet. The height really works with the coiling technique and the human features really work well. I feel they look melted into the form, which will hopefully be aided through glazing, and add to the idea of a humanised vessel.

I had great feedback from an illustration student on this piece, saying it looked like a melting creature from a video game (pictured right). I’m really pleased that someone independent and unaware of my practice made this personal connection and interpreted it in relation to their own experiences. This was exactly what I was trying to achieve. She said it seemed creepy but also oddly friendly and that she’d want it in her own home. This is very positive, and reassuring, feedback – I will continue to use the human features on my vessels.

As I make more of these, I’m enjoying the process more and more. The folds, bulges and wrinkles are becoming more defined and textural, and the forms are becoming more interesting. Its clear that my overlying interest is in the texture and surface detail of these pieces, which is something I hope to continue and take into my future work.

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