A few years ago, I started doing stencil cuts of friends and family members, to be sprayed onto platters as wedding gifts. I don’t throw the dish, my partner Chris does that, I just supply the imagery. They were blurry at first, but keep getting better. The addition of a legitimate airbrush to our arsenal resulted in a far higher quality image, as did tweaking the shape of the rim. These are all at least 14-16″ in diameter, and we’ve also successfully applied the stencils to cremation urns. There’s a lot of material to work with here in terms of celebrating life events with a unique vessel.

 

Wedding platters, mid-fire stoneware, airbrushed under glaze.

Birth announcements for my daughter seemed like a natural occasion to commemorate with this imagery as well. Her little face, peaking out from beneath a birthday hat, now graces the side of tumblers and vases in our house too. I would be interested in doing more of these on commission, but haven’t been able to find the right audience for this service. It could be a trust thing too, paying up front for something with the potential to be time sensitive and emotional is an act of faith in the crafts-person.

Nobody really does wedding platters anymore, but they should.

For now, I’ve got a flyer extolling the virtues of custom stencil artwork to mark important occasions, which has left my table with presumably interested people, never to be heard from again. Ah well, it’s really far too fussy to do one-offs like these for anyone but our nearest and dearest. They’re worth the investment in time and development, and the whole process has helped to streamline production of small, functional ceramic wares, featuring natural images instead of faces. I figure I’ll do up a series of small wares every year, and keep a line of ceramics going along side the jewelry and visual art, related through common patterns and themes.

 

 

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