Thinking ahead of what might sell at a pottery fair such as the upcoming Earth & Fire exhibition in June I am trying to develop a more commercially accessible range which would sit comfortably next to my sculptural work. As Dave, our MA tutor, rightfully pointed out people may like my sculptures but are more reluctant to buy something purely ornamental especially if it is large and expensive. So far I've adjusted the size of my figures to offer different price points. I have also made a range of little pinch pot, which are both test pieces and may work commercially. However, both my small figures and pinch pots will have a limited market value purely due to their size. Also, the pinch pots are also more decorative than useful. Whereas the pinch pots and figures are linked by my surface treatments and patterns the same cannot be said for their form. I tried making pinch pots with thicker rims but that doesn't feel right to me.
Dave suggested that I may try out making large thicker platters with rounded organic rims. Initially sceptical to whether this would work for me aesthetically I have been convinced to give it a try especially as I can extend their function to being used as wallhangings through the addition of holes on the back of the platters. Making pieces that go beyond the decorative to also be useful will be an added incentive to certain ceramic buyers. It should also take me less time to build these larger pieces so that I can concentrate more on the decorating process, which is my strength.
Using a cloth suspended between a wooden frame as a former gives the platters a nice rounded and organic form. I roll out the clay into rather thick slabs as this offers me the chance to make nice rounded edges and I like the weightiness of the platters.
As said, I also add feet on the bottom of the platters. This allows me to add the holes from which these pieces my be hung if I wanted to present them as wall pieces. I have to make sure that these feet are integral to the form of the platter and its organic feel. I purposefully avoid the platters to be perfectly geometrical. Again, that should link them to organic feel of my larger figures. While making these platters I was pleased to notice that I get the same tactile enjoyment making them as I do when finishing off my large coiled figures.
These platters, thus I feel at the moment just having made two so far, open up lots of possibilities for me. Not only can I vary their shape but I can change between different kinds and colours of clay and use many different surface decorating techniques. Before setting out on this avenue I was wary that making platters would constrain me creatively but I think it will be quite the opposite.