Aspen Bowl

A few weeks ago I was hiking in Santa Fe, admiring the golden aspens that have been captivating the artists of this region for generations. I thought I ought to do something incorporating their glowing hues and distinct bark. Making a mental note, I went home.

Back in the clay studio, I was getting ready to glaze some bowls. Remembering the aspens, I decided to try incorporating the trees onto me ceramics, using the wax resist for the bark.

I start by painting black underglaze along the bowl, using a combination and stippling and brushstrokes to mimic the look of aspen bark. 

Once the underglaze was dry, I covered the dots with wax resist, establishing the actual forms of the trees.

To add visual interest to the interior of the bowl, I painted several aspen yellow leaves with underglaze, covering them with wax resist once they were dry.

Once it was time to glaze, I dipped the bowl in two different colors, a warm yellow called buttercream, and variegated blue, a color I've used for quite a few of my pieces. In their unfired states, the blue looks gray, while the buttercream is pink.

And finally, here is the finished bowl after the glaze firing:

The buttercream turned out less yellow and more tan, but I still liked the overall outcome. To me it subtly captures the qualities of the aspen that I like. I was especially pleased with how well the leaves turned out, standing out against the variegated blue background. I could see myself making more pieces like this in the future; what do you think?