Every year I supplied an annual award for the Tree of the Month Annual award for the club member who has won the most points over the course of the year having a winning tree each month, voted for by the members. Les suggested that I make a trophy that can be used each year for each winner to have their name on the trophy and they hold it for their winning year before it passes on to the next winner.
So after Les worked some of his magic on getting hold of a nice piece of timber from John Brocklehurst, he of table and Trev fame, he passed it onto me to add my two penneth on. I did a rough design on paper to the size that I wanted it then sculpted the tree from clay straight onto the design
After building up the clay the image looked like this on the wood
The tree was then glazed with slips and velvet underglazes which is essentially like painting a model as it will come out the colour you paint it. Being that it is on a terracotta body, as that is the colour that I wanted the pot to be, the underglaze colours will come out a little darker that they are shown here
The large space on the right has been left intentionally for the small individual plaques for the winner of each year, so plenty of room for you Les. I really enjoyed doing this and using the velvet underglazes and slips and it has given me food for thought for a few other Bonsai related ceramics.
I love working in terracotta clay and to make the perfect unglazed bonsai pot is my ultimate quest from a pottery point of view.
However to try and be all encompassing and find a clay to use for all bonsai applications can be a little hard to find. Terracotta is fantastic for unglazed pots and white clay takes and shows off colour very well. However with white clay if you want to darken up the bottom part and feet the you have to get busy with the oxides. So in an attempt to make things easier by using one clay I threw a terracotta body, applied a white slip whilst still on the wheel, then added sodium silicate and stretched it. Not only do you get the advantages of the terracotta body and not having to oxide the foot area you get the white body to give good glaze colour and terracotta cracks under the white slip, well that’s the theory anyway.
I am pleased with the experiment so far but when it comes to the glazed final piece can I only pass comment on the overall result.