Thursday, June 10, 2021

Learning from dirt

Hello again! I know I've been VERY quiet here but trust me, I've been super noisy working on a new book project. It is difficult to juggle both so I'm going to try something new, again: small posts more often, instead of long posts not nearly often enough. Let's begin with this treasure:

I couldn't paint something as delicate as the abstract art in the middle of this beautiful Wedgewood plate if I tried. Do you find it as compelling as I do? 

(don't answer that.)

(unless your answer is your jaw dropped in admiration, like mine.) 

It's almost sepia, one of my favourite colours to work with, and the lightning bolt coming down from the centre is just wow. That thing looks good sideways, too.

 

Background: 

I rescued this plate many summers ago from a sort of performance art event where visitors could smash plates in a safety booth, so the artist could add the pieces to a growing pile of broken pottery stretched out over a very long table. 

It was an interesting idea for sure, and she explained that plates are made excessively and with no recycling plan, as they can't be composted once they have been glazed. All true and worth thinking about. But if you're an old-school Hugs reader from before my regular posting routine got interrupted, you know I have a huge passion for old plates, which are some of the most basic artifacts of social history, and affordable examples of graphic design history too.  It was basically a "heart meets melon baller" moment, watching those plates smash.

(disclaimer: I house five sets of dishes in my kitchen, at the expense of food storage space. I'm not exactly level headed on this subject.)

 

So: I rescued this dish and two or three others to use under plant pots. And for the last few weeks/months this plate has sat under a pot with a drainage hole in the bottom after the pot's original matching saucer broke. It was the perfect size of pot to display the floral border of the plate and nothing more, and also, it's fired with black enamel, so they looked great together. But while I was reorganizing my indoor garden today I dismantled that part of the setup and discovered a sad truth:

 

 dirt
sifting through the rocks in the bottom of a pot
is a better artist than
me


I have since washed the plate. You'd think that was just a single dusting of dirt but you'd be wrong- there were layers and layers of it. It was really thick! I am totally learning from the dirt and doing tons of layers on my next abstract effort.


And that 's me for today. Hope you're well, and I hope to see you again here soon!