Rosemary Chell

Institution: De Montfort University

Course: Design Crafts

Title: Bronze Age

Description: The final pieces were created from stoneware using white clay. The ceramic containers were designed to have a basic function and I used press moulded sprigs and coiled my ceramic forms. Sprigs and press moulds were made from clay models’ gourds and then casting plaster. I used earthy coloured stoneware glazes. I intended to have an uneven glaze surface by altering the overall thickness of glaze. This was to represent object erosion over time. I was interested in thinness and practiced this concept in my work by taking away clay layers with a serrated kidney when it was leather hard. Edges were uneven in places – this was not deliberate although an effect I liked. In making I wanted my ceramic containers to be somewhat tactile with decoration that you could touch and feel. The symbols I designed were quite personal and used to create plaster samples to press into clay.

Inspiration: Bird motifs

The Bronze Age brief allowed me to view archaeological ceramics. At first I was particularly interested in deconstruction by thinking about sherds and my first intentions were to break my work once made and photograph it. However, through further research into Bronze Age symbols (the water bird, the sun, and horse), I began making my own symbols by looking at family photos. These symbols included a beach, sunset, my dogs, the canal boat, my sister and cousin. I was inspired by the motifs and symbols because I liked the idea of a hidden meaning and having to discover a meaning interested me. In samples I cut out sections to represent this concept.

I first incised the designs using a pin tool and progressed by using plaster first to incise into the plaster squares and press them onto clay with these clay stamps. I then cast plaster on top giving a more refined linear decoration. As a designer/ maker a lot of my ideas/development are very ‘hands on’ and my ideas change as I make. Later in the project whilst making I created low relief by connecting small coils to produce my symbols. I decorated with uneven glaze thicknesses to represent erosion over time and decomposition.