Saturday, November 15, 2008

Cassandra, Dionysus and Helen: Classical Greek Imagery from Red-Figure and Black-figure Pottery

I had so much fun making the "Eos kidnaps Tithonus" panel I decided I had better make a series of brooches. The red-figure and black figure imagery has always fascinated me -and I enjoy researching the stories. It has always surprised me that the Celts did not to this kaind of narative imagery.

Here is Cassandra in her various stages. This brooch is 2" wide. At this stage, I had already fired the piece four times (two coats of black on the front, and two coats on the back)

painted enamel Cassandra

This is the first stencil with a sifted layer of opalescent white fines (fines are the smallest grains of enamel that are usually used for painting.)

painted enamel Cassandra
Then I scratched through the sifted layer with a toothpick to create the details.

painted enamel Cassandra











This is what it looked like after firing. It gives me an outline to guide my painting, and minimizing the problems of firing paint over regular enamel by giving me a base of fired fines.

By 'paint' I don't mean regular paint - but enamel paint: enamel that is ground up very fine and suspended in an oil medium (also known as china paint)

painted enamel Cassandra











Then I painted the clothing and sifted a layer of mixed red/purple fines over it while it was still wet, dried it and again scratched through the layer for detail. I then painted the white skin, dried it and scratched the details also.

painted enamel Cassandra











There is always some cracking when you fire fines over regularly fired enamel, due to different coefficients of expansion. Here there was only one crack in the white, and fortunately it was in a place that it was going to be hidden anyway. However I will have to learn to live with cracks, and hope that they always appear in artistic places!


painted enamel Cassandra












I painted her hair in, and did another fire

painted enamel Cassandra
I










And the ANOTHER fire after I decided (with a little help from my friends) to add the letters of her name. Click here to read her story

Here she is done as black-figure, and as a necklace
painted enamel Cassandra

I didn't think the black figure worked so well with this design, as the black on black hair and robes are a little hard to discern.

painted enamel Helen of Troy
Helen, on the other hand, worked out better (Sorry I don't have a pic of her red-figure alter-ego - it got a little over-fired ;-) See her story here

painted enamel Dionysus painted enamel Dionysus
Dionysus turned out pretty good both ways ;-) You can read about him here

More to come!

No comments: