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Marking up patterns: I'm totally thrown by it

Finally the day has come and I've managed to borrow an overhead projector. I intend to project some of my pattens from my sketch book onto my large pieces in order ease the process of transferring rather complicated patterns onto the body clay. This should be particularly helpful with the geometric Islamic patterns I have been working on. Before starting off I was aware that this would create distortions in the patterns but I thought that this would be a rather nice addition.

So, after an initial struggle with the technology we have finally got the computer to communicate to the digital overhead projector and do its thing. Wow, what a result!!! I am totally blown away by the visual impact this has and what other possibilities this may open up for me. I am reeling a bit at the moment and will have to process this. Anyway, here are some of the things I tried out with the help/advice/assistance of Dave.

This gridded up Iznik pattern based on a drawing in my sketch book was the first I tried out. I was immediately struck buy the sheer beauty of it. The light projecting onto this piece turns the rather dark grey clay surface of this figure - it is made from Vulcan black clay - into something shimmering and jewel-like.

Iznik pattern on figure

Next I wanted to see how it looked with one of my strong Islamic inspired patterns. It is quite different both in colour but also because of the scale of the pattern.

Islamic pattern on figure

I don't think the Iznik pattern below really works: a) it is too decorative and repetitive and b) the distortions work best on continuously linked patterns and not isolated dots.

Iznik pattern
Pueblo banded pattern

So, then I projected my lines of Pueblo banded patterns onto the piece. On one level works very well visually. However, my intention is that there is no definite way of placing these figures with fixe up or down sides. Maybe if I placed this figure on an angle, thus avoiding a horizontal line running parallel to the plane of the surface it is sitting on, it may work.

Pueblo banded pattern

I am actually planning to do a purely textured pattern on this figure, i.e. the only colour variation will be between the darker burnished raised areas and the lighter water eroded areas which will reveal lighter flecks of grog. Thus, I next tried out a black and white Pueblo pattern. This wasn't really successful as it lacks variation in design and in scale.

Pueblo pattern

I next decided to try out some patterns on my other figure made from red clay. These patterns show how the pattern looks from the front, i.e. the direction of the projection, and a side view of the same position without moving the figure. Only when you move around can you see the distortions properly.

Islamic pattern strips seen from the side
Islamic pattern strips

The sane can also been seen with the coloured patterns such as this Islamic inspired one.

Islamic inspired pattern

Islamic inspired pattern see from the side

Projecting just bands of pattern can also be very effective as seen here using just the design from the rim of an Iznik plate.

Iznik plate rim projected

From here we went on to trying out different images found on the internet and weren't disappointed. Dave took many more photos and videos than me as I was turning the turntable - the volcano and baked beans were especially successful.

Then we tried out how turning the figure would affect the pattern. In some cases it was really quite 'trippy' and using moving images didn't make lessen the impact either. You just have to choose the right sort of images and videos to make an impact.

Anyway, after lots of fun I decided to try out copying this rather complicated Islamic inspired pattern.

I used a light pastel pencil to trace out the outlines. This is rather difficult because of the angles of the piece and any spin of the turntable results in the patterns moving and not matching up.

I made sure that I also drew and outline indicating where the shadowed areas are. I think these 'empty' sections are also beautiful.

Once I traced the pattern from one position I turned the figure that repeat and partially fill in the patterns falling on some of these 'empty' areas but ensuring that some blanks were left.

Unfortunately, the projector kept cutting out during this process and then slipped without me being able to complete all the tracing work. So, I'll have to decide whether I fill in these missing areas or not.

Once the projector is turned off the piece is looking far less glamorous. But at the moment I need to concentrate on finishing this figure as intended. I will come back to possibilities that have opened up by this afternoon's experimenting. There is a lot to follow up.

Very, very exciting!

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