Friday, 21 March 2014

Case Studies

As part of our project, we have invited a small group of artists and designers to each collaborate with us in the production of an underglaze decorated ware. Having selected a ware from the Burleigh range, patterns and/or imagery have been produced and made into printing plates, to then be printed in colour and transferred onto the objects.
The 4 projects are at various stages of production but here's a brief update to each of them.

Steve Hoskins.

Steve has provided a digital file of his artwork which he would like to see separated into 3 colours and tranferred into the depressed rings of this banded jug. He's interested in how the image will be read once the missing areas of the plane are removed from the raised surface. This piece poses technical challenges for me (which I love!) as it involves producing 3 new inks and some pretty tricky registration problems. As the bands are so small and fiddly, I plan to print and transfer one strip at a time. I'll photograph the process and update the blog in the coming weeks.


Having worked together in 2009 on a  Contemporary Craft Fellowship, Jessie Higginson and Katie Bunnel were keen to readdress some of the imagery created at that time and incorporate it with their mutual love of all things ceramic. We spent a day together in the CPFR workshop in December producing numerous test plates and realised that the variable line widths and the subsequent space between these lines allowed for a wide tonal range for each colour. After many tweaks and adjustments to the digital file, Jessie and Katie have decided to print their desing in two colours onto a large, rectangular platter. A third layer will then be added as an onglazed screenprint, allowing the addition of some hand drawn elements.

These photographs show some of the test pieces - in the foreground of the first, you see the test plate with the different line widths. The second illustrates some of the colour options that were considered.

The final platters have been glazed and fired at Burleigh and are due to be returned here in a couple of weeks time, ready to have the third layer added before one final firing in our kiln.

Paul Scott.

Paul is a massive blue and white fan so it came as no surprise when he jumped at the chance to produce an underglaze plate, in the trademark blue. For his piece, Paul has chosen to adapt an all over pattern, similar to the Burleigh Calico. (see strip below)

A few years ago, Paul was commissioned to create a public artwork in Hanoi. (read all about it on his blog - Cumbrian Blues ) The massive mural which he created was also based on traditional blue and white underglaze patterns and on completion, he was inspired by the local influence of the passing motorbikes. These fleeting vehicles, laden with passengers and piled high with all sorts of 'stuff' interfered with the pattern, and he chose to incorporate images from these photographs into a pattern for his new plate.

Paul has asked that his plate be printed in the traditional, 'Blue Calico' used at Burleigh so I am due to make some ink and print the pieces in this beautiful, strong colour soon. Once completed, I'll add some photos.
Photo of Paul's mural in Hanoi, taken from his blog. (photo credit to Nguyen Thu Thuy and Bui Viet Doan)
Chris Orr.

 When Chris first arrived at the CFPR workshop, he brought along with him a selection of his printing plates - etchings and drypoints. Initially, I was unable to print from them as the ink needed to be heated (which eliminated the option of printing from the drypoint plastic plates) and the etched lines were too shallow to hold the stiff ink. However, after many trials and modifications to both the ink and the printing, we were able to successfully print and transfer onto test wares.

This photo shows one of Chris' plastic plates, alongside a print onto paper from it. The jug shows some success, yet the lines are far weaker than that in the paper print.

We then went on to print from the etching plates and discovered that, with a far looser ink, damp backing paper and a higher printing pressure, we were able to retain a lot of the subtle tones and fine marks that were in the surface of the copper.

From these tests, Chris decided to print from his etching plates for his editioned ware, which is in two colours (from 3 plates) onto a large, etruscan jug. Here's a photo showing two of the copper plates and one side of the jug.


  1. Jessie and Katie have decided to print their desing in two colours onto a large, rectangular platter. A third layer will then be added as an onglazed screenprint, allowing the addition of some hand drawn elements.
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  2. Hi Linsay, I am currently trying to transfer prints from etched copper plates onto bisqueware, but the transfer is coming out very patchy on the tissue. I am using a mix of plate oil and stain, and applying oil soap to the tissue before putting onto the plate and running through the press. Any advice where I might be going wrong?