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Lesson 1 c

Maiolica Lesson 1: part C

Gael Stirler


Painting Border Patterns

The beauty of Maiolica is in its casual spontaneity. To accomplish this, I try to do as much of the art work as I possibly can without sketching in pencil first. The more I follow this rule, the more my work looks like the real thing in museums. I notice that the historical stuff does not have smooth backgrounds so I don't worry if I can't make my glazes perfectly smooth either. It is the imperfections that make it honest.

rules _dots_sm.jpgMost border patterns are based on a multiple of three or four repetitions. It helps to lay out a grid (or at least to indicate the intersections of the grid) with dots. Here I am dividing a border into four sections by putting a dot in the center of the border. Then I turn my attention to the section to the left of the dot and put a dot in the center of the left section. I do the same for the right-hand section. I will do this with dots on the imaginary centerline, top or bottom edge in pencil or paint to indicate the positions of repeated motifs.

Project 1: Sampler Tiles

paint yellow firstCollect pictures of maiolica borders you want to try from the internet or from books. Make a Sampler Tile to test painting them and to work out the colors. Start out with a six or eight inch tile. Paint lines on the surface dividing the space into a variety of border widths from 1/4 inch to 2 inches wide. Lightly sketch in the basics of the first border but don't pencil in too much. All you will need is an indication. Paint the designs starting with the lightest color first, usually yellow. Work up to the darkest color for the outlines and details.

paint backgroundSome borders have white backgrounds. Others have red or blue backgrounds. In this example I am filling in the background with Cobalt Blue glaze. Envisions Cobalt Glaze looks lavender before firing when it turns ultramarine blue. You should use two or even three coats of it to get a deep blue. Even if it looks evenly applied it will turn streaky, like watercolor paint if you only use one coat.
Finished Sampler Tile #1
Vine Border
Harbor Buildings
Wide Red and Blue Border
Narrow Feather Border
Palmetto Border
Red Scales

before firing,

and after firing.
Finsihed Sampler Tile #2
Narrow Sequin Border
Ricco-style Acanthus Border
Narrow Points and Dots
Deruta-style Border 1
Tiny Rope border
Deruta-style Border 2
Balls and curls
Scale and Bushes Border

before firing,

and after firing.


NEXT to Maiolica Lesson 2: tiles with circles | Go back to Maiolica Lesson 1 part A .

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© 2002-2004Gael Stirler, Inc. 1-520-721-8346
Unless otherwise noted all art is the work of Gael Stirler.
AKA Mistress Dairine mor o' hUigin, OL

This page was last updated Monday, 16-Mar-2009 15:36:19 CDT