Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Chessell Pottery fish plate

Fly-fishing plate © Peter Gander
Last week during half-term, we took the kids over the water to the Isle of Wight, to Fiona’s bungalow in Ventnor, which is looked after by friends Helen and Frazer of Vintage Vacations. We were only there for a few days and the autumnal weather called for an afternoon’s leisure indoors. We picked out Chessell Pottery Barns near Calbourne on the island. We selected our blanks, a piece of slip-cast pottery, choosing from bowls and egg-cups to mugs and vases. I picked out a large 10 inch plate, the best and biggest ‘blank canvas’ available. I set out with a technique called ‘sgraffito’ in mind, where the paint is applied then scratched away by a metal tool called a fettling knife (just visible in the top photo).

Laying down successive layers of black paint (3 were used in total)

Hand-lettering the words with bottle of paint
Scratching in the scale design with the tailormade fettling tool
The final piece showing pallette, fettling knife and squeezy paint bottles

Lettering was done by squeezing a matching paint through  a fine-tipped plastic paint bottle, icing- bag-style. Cutting through the now-dried layers of rock-hard paint with the knife was hard going, fluid, curved lines must be very tricky but mine was a relatively simple design. I added a decorative couple of blocks of water and the fly and job done. As our plates needed firing to glaze the design and we were due to leave the island the next day before a firing day was due, we will have to wait until next year to collect our pieces! In any event, were soon distracted from that glitch by the Barn’s legendary cream tea to finish a great afternoon off!

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