I was so happy with how my hexagonal pottery project turned out, that I decided to expand on the theme to make some wall art for the bathroom. Not wishing to make the room look too ‘samey’ with more buzzing bee ideas, I focused this time of the wider world of nature.
I didn’t want this to look too planned, as although my design theme for the bathroom is science, I don’t want the room to look over-stylised, with novelty science-based stuff all over the place. It still needs to look like a livable space!
I wasn’t completely sure what the project would end up looking like – I thought I might as well make a start and see where I ended up! The first panel I made was a small slab of clay made up of 6 tesselating hexes. On to this slab, I experimented with textures and cutters. On one hex, I rolled the edge of a zip across to make small indentations, and onto another I gently rolled a rough piece of tree bark to give a gravelly texture. To me, it seemed to give the appearance of the night sky over an apartment block (really!), so I used a cake decorating tool to haphazardly dot stars over the remaining hexes. After it had dried and had its first firing, I was able to paint it in underglazes, which are really versatile when it comes to painting textures. I was able to join the stars up in random constellations – if by chance I have produced some real constellations here, please let me know what they are! The one on the right is the finished piece. The colours appear much lighter before firing, so it is always a bit of a leap of faith when you are painting – I’m pleased with how this one turned out.
I was happy with how the slab looked, so I began on a larger one, not really knowing how it was going to end up. I sort of worked out what I wanted to do as I went along!
I liked the idea of the first slab being about the sky, so I decided to play with a few textures to make the next one reminiscent of a beach. I had a beautiful, rough textured shell, so I rolled the spines of the shell backwards and forwards on a few of the hexes of the second slab. I then used a small piece of net to rub a rough texture onto a few of the other hexes. I thought that, with the right painting, I could probably make it look like sand. There were a few empty hexes near the bottom of the piece which I rolled a pen lid around on to make swirly lines.
Before and after painting: I’m especially pleased with how the shell-textured hexes turned out, to me the final piece makes me think of stormy seas and being broken up to form sand. The more observant of you will spot that the final resting place of the top two hexes was slightly different too! It was a bit too fragile where it was.
I started to see where the project was going at this point, so I was able to plan my work a bit better. The next slab I attempted was going to feature flowers, pollen and seeds. I arrange the hexes so that there would be space to run a vine of flowers across the piece. I used another cake making tool to create various indentations into some of the hexes, and arranged some clay flowers in other areas. You can see the unfired slab above, and the pre-fired, glazed one below.
For the final slab, I had an idea of trying to display planets and atoms…which didn’t really happen in the end! I added some small disks of clay to make planets in the solar system, and then when I came to paint them, I was going to make some of them into atoms or molecules, so that the overall picture was one of the biggest things in our understanding, next to the smallest things. However, when I came to paint it, it didn’t really turn out that way! I couldn’t work out how to paint it so it would make sense. I’m still happy with how it’s turned out, but there definitely isn’t an atom to be seen!
Again, it’s hard to know what colour the finished piece will be, as the glazes are so much lighter pre-firing. An added bonus on this particular slab was that the final item seems to have a silvery, space-like shimmer over parts of it – completely unexpected but very welcome! I’m glad I didn’t paint any of it to look like atoms, as the colours are so dark on this one that the detail would have been lost.
All four items are now out of the kiln and up on the wall. Hurray!