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Lesson 7

More Geometric Borders

Gael Stirler

It is good to have a large collection of photos, sketches and samplers to refer to when you are getting ready to paint a border. If you don't have references, you tend to fall back on designs you have done before and after a while your work has lost its freshness. I collect examples of maiolica borders, architechtural details, fabric designs, etc. from internet sites, library books, books I have bought, and sketches I've made. Here is a geometric border plate that combines four borders and a central medallion to create a very impressive 10" plate. Notice the scrolling ribbon from lesson 4. The outer border is similar to the tulip border. See if you can break it down into steps and copy it. I'll give you a hint. It starts with a 16 section grid with red dots on the intersections and yellow dots in the middle of each section. You can also see how I used the same lettuce leaf border that was on the Jessica Plate in lesson 5 and a version of a pearl border.

Here are four narrow borders that look good on the inside slope of plates and bowls.

Wrought Iron Gate

Step 1 This is one of my favorites because it is quite easy but looks hard. You may recognize it from lesson 3 when it was more elaborate and teamed up with Palmetto trees. This simplified version can also be done with dots instead of uprights between the links. Here is an example.

Step 1:Divide your middle border into 12 sections and paint a line between each one. Put a dot in the center of each section. This is much easier on narrow or sloped borders than using a pencil to band all the way around.

Step 2 Step 2: Paint a "C" curl from the upright to the dot. It can touch the upright but try not to touch the sides.
Step 3 Step 3: Make the "C" curl into and "S" curve by reverse/mirroring the curl on the other side of the dot.
Step 4 Step 4: Paint a diamond on the joint in the center of the "S" curve. Little touches like this make all the difference. Look at the tilt of the line under the diamond. If it leans to the right, the ones next to it should lean to the left. Keep alternating all the way around. I like to draw a little pencil line through the dots in each section to indicate the direction of the tilt of the "S" so I won't get mixed up. Since this is a sampler, you can stop after three gates.
Step 5

Step 5: To finish off the gate add a capital (headpiece) to the upright and links holding the gate to the upright. Sometimes I leave out the uprights and it looks more like a fancy chain. I like to paint this design in yellow first with a thick brush then outline it with a thin line of zaffer or black before painting a dark background around it.


Step 1 Step 1: Paint more uprights through your dots to make a series of tiles. Paint a diagonal line through each tile from corner to corner. The diagonal's tilt is the same for each tile. If you are using a banding wheel, you should find it easy to turn the wheel a small amount with one hand then paint the lines with the other. That is why you may choose to tilt the lines the other way if you are left handed.
Step 2 Step 2: Draw a diagonal line from the top of the pyramid until it meets the center of the other diagonal.
Step 3 Step 3: If this were a plate I would paint each large triangle yellow, the smaller triangle red or black, and the sky a deep blue or a light turquoise. Experiment with various colors. Make your own border out of triangles.. Remember that triangle on a circle always look better when they point outward from the center.

Rippled Edges

Step 1 Step 1: Divide each section into two tiles as in the pyramid exercise. Put a dot in the center of each tile. Draw short lines from the inner side of the border to the dot. This design always should have the little lines on the side of the circle closest to the center.
Step 2
Step 2:
Paint a diagonal line from the short line to the outer end of the long line, change direction and paint a diagonal from the end of that line to the next short line. Skip over the next long line and repeat the pattern on the next set of lines. Make three repeats for this section of the sampler.
Step 3 Step 3: Connect the tall lines that you skipped to the short lines with curves instead of straight diagonals. When painting pottery, paint the the right side of each set red, the left side yellow and the background blue. Just use gray and black on this sampler.


Step 1 Step 3: Divide the sections into tiles. Paint a circle inside each tile without touching the sides.
Step 2 Step 3: Paint in the background. Using watered down India ink, paint a "c" shape inside each pearl without touching the edges. If the shadow touches the edges the pearls will look like half spheres instead pearls.


Step 1 Step 1: Grailing is tiny, lacy designs on the inner edge of the cavity of the plate. It makes an edge like a lace doily in the center. The most common use is just a series of scallops or half circles. Start by placing a series of little dots as guides.
Step 2 Step 2: The top grailing is the scallop design. Lower left is a design I call fountains and dots. Lower right is made of hearts, curls and dots. I don't like pictures or designs in the center of plates that are meant to be used as dinner plates. So, if I am going to leave the center plain, I like to give it a finished look by adding a little grailing.
homework Homework: Create a geometric border of your own. The outer border should be widest. The middle border should be narrower and the center border should be the narrowest. The center border can be grailing or it can be a strip border like these. You should leave some plain bands between borders. These can be any color as long as there is good contrast with the pattern on the adjacent borders. Experiment with various colors. I find that vine patterns don't look good next to each other. They benefit from having a different kind of border next to them.

Go to Lesson 8: Castelli Abruzzi Foliage Border | Go back to Lesson 6: Geometric Borders | Visit Gallery 1

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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 15:37:49 CDT