Sunday, April 7, 2013

Tribute to the ChristChurch Cathedral and her Rose Window.

I'm just thrilled at how my brand new Emerge Rose Window designs came out of the kiln a couple of days ago. The design is a tribute to the ChristChurch Cathedral Rose Window that was sadly destroyed during a series of large aftershocks resulting from the February 22nd 2011 Earthquake that struck Canterbury. I have been asked and asked to create a design that incorporates the Cathedral as it holds such a sweet spot for Cantabrians and is the iconic symbol for Christchurch. 

I went back and forth between a simplistic design of the church itself or another part that symbolized it. 
The Rose Window won!

The ChristChurch Cathedral in all her glory, back in the good old days.
The Cathedral battered and bruised.

I took the photo above on the 17th December 2011 after one of the larger aftershocks finally took the window out. Only 6 days later we experienced another very large 5.8 Magnitude earthquake which destroyed more of the Cathedral. I'm so glad I wasn't this close to the church at the time of that one!! The bracing was there to try and save the front that was badly damaged.

These are the stickers I use on all my Mudbird Ceramics products when packaging.

You never really know how pieces will look when making them for the fist time, until they have been through their 2 firings. So some would say it's luck that they worked and some would say it was well planned artistic-ness... is that a word??

I call it SUCCESS! I designed the stamp in black and white in a design program, slowly tweaking curves and lines and shapes until I was happy with the final design and envisaged that the black part of the stamp would look red when glazed. I wanted a Rose Window design that was not the same as any others floating out there on the web, and I'm pretty sure it's a one off! It's my artistic interpretations and you can see the full design better on the Tile. The classic Rose window design is so beautiful it wasn't hard to be pleased with the design anyway. Thank you to the Stone masons from the 1800's (or earlier I'm sure) for creating such beauty to begin with. 

I'm no graphic designer but I do have a few skills to be able to make it work. Probably took me 5x longer than a graphic artist and I probably broke all the rules, but I'm happy with the outcome.

The Necklace.

When the bisque fired pieces came out of the kiln they were white and I was captured by the textured pattern and couldn't keep touching the discs, and then during the glazing process I was getting more and more excited. When I rubbed back the red glaze to reveal it in the pattern I thought it was going to be a winner  (well for me anyway!) So when I opened the kiln after the glaze firing a few mornings ago I shouted for joy and did a happy dance all the way around the house! Much to my 2.8yr olds delight, he thought he had a crazy mummy for a few minutes there.
The 3.5 inch tile with hook inset into the back.

I got the stamp made up in 2 sizes, one for jewellery and one for a tile and dish. I made up some discs to be necklaces and made several square tiles and a couple of round tiles and small dishes. 

The 3.5 inch round tile. Yet to be decided if it should be a coaster or remain a tile.
What do you think?

Now... using the liquefaction silt in the clay can get very tricky sometimes and I have to admit I had contemplated never making a round dish again. Because mixing the silt into the clay is a very delicate operation, sometimes the clay misbehaves after firing and I end up with a lot of reject dishes that I can't sell. But this smaller shallow dish seems to agree with me and the clay so I think I'll persue this design.

The mini shallow dish.

A Trio of symmetry.

So that's what is new in the land of liquefaction silt & clay in the Mudbird Studio. A pretty good combo I think. I've been making these Earthquake Commemoration products since July 2011 and have been touched with all the feedback from my lovely customers. There are Emerge pieces all over the world. Many I have sent and many taken by my customers on their travels. Given as gifts or bought as mementos to hold a piece of Christchurch close to their hearts. And it is literally a piece of Christchurch, from the silty soil below our city mixed with my clay.

It brings me joy to create something that has such meaning, something so beautiful that has come from something so ugly and detroying and I thank you for helping me to continue to do it.

x Gill