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Sasha Wardell bone china            

Educational Notes

Bone china is a very seductive material to work with, posessing qualities of intense whiteness, translucency and strength. It is a very 'single-minded' clay, which forces the maker to work with clarity and precision. Its technimcal inflexibility and idiosyncratic making and firing characteristics might eassily be a deterrent to investigation, however I consider these restrictions and limitations a challlenge to creativity and working methods.

I have adapted the industrial techniques associated with bone china production of mouldmaking and slip casting to studio production. My particular interests lie in the translucent properties of this material and the differing degrees of luminosity possible. In order to enhance these qualities in my work I have developd three variations of decoration which aim to exploits this characteristic.

The first focuses on specific points of translucency by using a 'slicing and layering' technique. Subtle facets on the curved outer surface of the pieces involve slicing through 3 or 4 coats of differnt coloured slips to reveal underlying and increasingly transparent layers. Similar techniques exist in glass production which serve as the inspiration and starting point for this body of work.
The second technique uses the same layering process as above, however, marks are made with a loop tool to incise or gouge through the layers. This has the same effect of revealling the underlying colours until the interior layer is exposed. Marine references inform the pattern making in this collection.
The third process of 'water erosion' focuses on the entire surface of the piece using a single cast and no colour. The variations of translucency are achieved by painting in acrylic medium onto the raw cast. This acts as a resist when the piece is 'washed' with a damp sponge until a relief pattern appears. Marks and patterns are derived from organic sources and fabric design.