Monday, June 13, 2016

Inspired by Art

I'm really getting in to the swing of things with my ceramics. Do you ever feel as though things are starting to fall in to place? I have many styles and techniques that I love to work in/with. And over the last couple of weeks I've been working on ways to incorporate them together in my work.

My first love in the art world is Art Nouveau. The gentle flowing lines, the movement and suggestion of form, and the rich earthy colours in the designs.

Art Nouveau Inspiration
My absolute favourite is Alphonse Mucha, the Czech painter and decorative artist.

Alphonse Mucha - Donna Orechini

Alphonse Mucha - Job Cigarettes

Alphonse Mucha - Zodiac

When you look closely at his work, it seems deceivingly simple,  a series of heavy lines, with washed pastel colours, but the sum of the parts is an incredible result.

Alphonse Mucha - Posing a model

Mucha regularly used photography as a tool for his work, building grand sets with his models, taking many photographs, and choosing elements from them to create his artworks. After school, I studied photography at college and have hundreds of pictures from which I regularly draw inspiration. 

If you'd like to read more about Mucha's life and work, you must visit the Mucha foundation website,  full of information and even colouring pages of his line drawings.

Mucha Quote

I also love to draw, and have multiple sketchpads full of work I've produced in pursuit of my own style. 


The simple suggestive style really appeals to me and I've been exploring that with some new tile designs.

Carved tile designs

I'm really enjoying working on a larger scale and these designs include my love of carving, nature, photography and Art Nouveau.

Underglazed tile

Inspired by Jenny's post showing how she uses underglazes for her work, I decided to try it out myself for my first test. The carved tile was decorated in multiple layers of underglaze to create solid colours, outlined in black and then fired with a coat of clear glaze. I've found with my underglazes, they work better if you fire them bare, then fire again with the clear. The colours turn out much brighter. 

For a second test, I tried single colours of transparent glaze. These turned out to be my favourites.

Single colour glazed tile

I've always had a thing for the way glaze breaks over texture, and in this version, the carving really stands out. 

Not wanting to abandon beads altogether, I tried out some miniature versions of the tiles as pendants.

Hand carved ceramic pendants

Next I'm going to try these out with multiple colours, although on previous attempts, this hasn't always gone to plan and they looked a bit messy, maybe having a bit more patience might be the key! 

And finally, as I really liked the smaller tile pendants, I tried out one of the design in bronze clay, using the same hand carving techniques I used for the clay versions.

Carved bronze pendant

I'd like to turn this in to some jewellery, I have bronze wire on order, just need to decide how to go about making up the chain! I'm thinking something with rich coloured Czech glass beads and wrapped wire. 

And finally, a quick update on the mugs from my last post. They're still very much a work in progress, I've decided the handle on this one is too big, but I quite like the multi coloured glazing (which took forever!) I think with a bit of tweaking, and maybe an extra coat of glaze for a more solid colour on the purple, they will be pretty cool! 


It's still great fun to drink out of something you've created yourself, even if it isn't exactly as you'd like it.

I'm really enjoying the journey I'm taking with my work, it's extremely satisfying to search for what it is that you love and express it through your work. 

I'd love to hear what it is that inspires your work... don't forget to leave a comment!


  1. Your experiments have turned out quite fabulous. I too love the art nouveau aesthetics - the whiplash curves, the nature inspiration, and the remarkably detailed surfaces that are rather flat as opposed to the dimensional forms of other art movements.

  2. Your work is lovely! I really enjoyed seeing how one idea led to another in your artistic process. And as a result, I can only say that I like all of it and would be hard-pressed to declare a favorite! Thanks for sharing information about Mucha's work, too.

  3. what is it about rabbits that I have an intense attraction to? lovely...

  4. What a fabulous posting! I loved seeing your inspirations and drawings. The underglazed tile is beautiful-love the colours-and the mug is gorgeous. Would love one of those bronze pendants too! :)

  5. Such beautiful and wondrous works of art Caroline I love seeing your creative process almost as much as your finished pieces!

  6. You are truly my soul sister.

  7. Thanks so much everyone. It's great to be able to share my journey with you all and wonderful to get so many lovely comments!

  8. I love your new tiles, and how you have incorporated and interpreted Art Nouveau design elements.
    I think the mug has a nice quirky character as it is!

  9. I love Art Nouveau! The bunny tiles are favorite; can't wait to see what's next!

  10. I just love these tiles and beads. Very beautiful and creative.

  11. Love the new tiles you are working on and the pendants too. That bronze one is simply amazing! Thanks for sharing your works in progress... it's fun to see some of the process behind your art.

  12. You work is always so fabulous, Caroline!

  13. Hi Caroline, Thanx for sharing your journey with us. The underglazed pendants are wonderful and that mug is adorable.


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