The next installment in the Best of Pottery Class No. 2 is a happy blend of different craftistic pursuits. I knew, as I was imagining new places to take my handbuilding skills this term, that I wanted to find a way to incorporate my love of textile art with my burgeoning interest in pottery. It's an interesting thought, no? The soft, draping, ever malleable nature of fibre and fabric mixed with the (ultimately) cool, hard and very structural nature of fired and glazed clay. As I imagined the list of possible combinations of the two my thoughts ranged from fairly obvious things like clay buttons for a handmade shirt to a large, elaborate textile wall hanging in which I incorporated a variety of exquisitely glazed and detailed pottery discs, perhaps through embroidery or applique. However, while you've got to admire the enthusiasm of my artistic imagination it is often out of sync with my actual current abilities. And so I compromised. With crocheted doilies.
I have never been particularly drawn to doilies and often wondered at their use for tizzying up a dressing table or sideboard, or at their function as arm and headrest protectors for your "good" furniture. That said, though, as I've grown into my aesthetic sensibilities (and since I learned to crochet) I have admired the skill and time that has gone into making them and remembered that they have belonged to that much maligned world of "women's interests" that has done so much to bring beauty to a harsh world and brought skilled craftswomanship into many a humble home. So, slowly they have stopped being a thing of beige bemusement to me and they have begun to represent the wider picture of women's skill, contribution and, increasingly, a kind of re-purposing/recycling ingenuity. With the craft world's love of all things vintage, I have loved watching many craftisans transform the humble doily from discarded curio into fabulous art.
1. webb and flow., 2. sweet dream rabbits, 3. The Magnolia Project, 4. Fiber Art Doily with Yellow Flower
So with doilies duly reclaimed into my artistic sensibilities, I wandered down to a local thrift store and found a little stash of handmade doilies that were just the ticket for what I had in mind. Once back in the clay studio, braving the stares of those around me, I rolled and pressed, imprinted and cut, and soon enough had a range of soft clay tiles that had been well and truly "doilied". Some I turned into round discs that will eventually be a small display in our kitchen.
And others I fashioned into soap dishes, one of which (not this one) is already drawing crowds and rounds of applause (okay, one comment from a good friend but it's a start) as a feature in our bathroom.
Of course, I'm forever at the mercy of my fledgling glazing skills but I learned quite a bit with this little project and one day may explore this further. Perhaps with a whole series of clay doily trivets, coasters, plates, serving platters, wall hangings, tiles, soap dishes, bird baths, dog water bowls and decorative brooches for me to place artistically all over my house and person. Perhaps I'll even become known as the Mad Pottery Doily Lady and my One True Love can charge people to come and visit and gaze upon the pottery doily extravaganza that is my life's work!
I'll let you know how I go.