Shapes: Building Variations

From Marilyn on 22nd June 2011:

Building Variations

Like everything in the Shapes section, this is a work in progress. It is a complex subject! We will aim to give more illustrated examples in the Hazle Guidebook, when it is finally ready.

Building variations do not usually have a separate name to the Building Shape. If that were the case, there would be a huge and very confusing proliferation of names.

The Why Shapes? section discusses the difference between the terms (Building) Shape and (Casting) Mould. Any varied Moulds listed under a Shape will account for some building variations.

Hazle Ceramics do alter buildings quite a lot. And this seems to be a growing trend. As well as variations to the Mould, new techniques have been used extensively. Hence the need for this article.

New Techniques

1) Around 2006 a thick opaque glaze called Bumpy Doodles started being used for snow, foliage and other things. Occasionally it was also employed to change the shape of previously modelled items.

2) In 2008 Hazle asked the painters to create some work that was special and personal to them for Judy Brett's leaving do - aka the Collectors Day 2008. As her husband is a Victorian expert, Iona Driver decided to paint Queen Victoria's Rat Catcher and made several add-ons to the piece with hand-rolled clay. By Christmas 2008, the add-on scroll for Ebenezer's had its own hand-pressed plaster mould.

3) Combinations: The snow and foliage on Ebenezer's were created with Bumpy Doodles. Since then many more pieces have had additions and specially-made add-ons, using or combining these technques. I am classifying Bumpy Doodles and anything else fired onto a mould as an addition. Alternatively anything stuck on with glue after all firings is defined as an add-on. However on the Orientation Guide grid, intended to be as compact as possible, there is sometimes insufficient space to make this distinction.

Categories of Variations

1) Mould Alterations

In her work for Hazle, Iona describes herself as "a clay person who also paints". She has clarified to me that strictly speaking a mould is used for casting items. So the definition of a mould alteration is always something done before casting. Any changes at any stage after casting must be classified as an addition or add-on (or more rarely a removal).

Using this definition there are only two types of mould alteration:

a) New Master Mould

A good example is Uppingham High Street which had a separate master mould with the antiques outside, done as a Limited Mould of 250. Another master mould was used for the version without antiques. (So far this latter master mould has only been used for one LP10.)

Village Antiques Time Lord
Village Antiques The Time Lord

Many variations on the London Small Shop shape such as different windows, drainpipes and so on would have been created with new master moulds. The Flags version on Northampton has its own master mould.

b) Altered Working Mould

Working moulds are created from the master mould. Only 30-40 bisques can be cast from a working mould before it loses definition and is discarded. So this method is usually used for shorter runs.

Three pieces from the 10th Anniversary had altered working moulds, as did all five pieces in the Jubilee Parade. Alterations tend to be less deep than some master mould modelling, such as the seaweed and shells created from original flowers on The Friendly Fisherman a 10th Anniversary piece.

2) Additions, Removals and Add-ons

a) Additions & Removals Before First Firing

Ceramics are cast from liquid "slip" a mix of clay and water. The resulting greenware (which is brown!) is left to dry out for a few days. Then any extraneous clay is cleaned up before the first firing. This is called fettling. Other things can be removed too - although it is rarely done as the clay is so thin and fragile at this point.

i) Iona's 2010 Mummers has the drinkers on London Tavern cut out at this stage. Her new figures of St George and the Green Knight (from hand-pressed plaster moulds) were then added as dried "leather-hard" clay, piece by piece, before firing. Iona also removed the modelled wall decoration on the London Tavern to paint the Mummers banners. Please see Add-ons below for her Knights' shields...

London Tavern Mummers
London Tavern Mummers

ii) Iona also removed the beams and windows under the gable on the above model at the fettling stage to enable her to paint The Mayflower ship here, on the pub painting of that name.

iii) Iona also removed the modelled wall decoration underneath the arches of Oxford St Giles to be able to portray elaborate Art Deco motifs there for her Light Fantastic painting.

b) Additions & Removals After First Firing

i) Separately cast items can be added to bisques after the first firing with slip - the same clay and water mix used to make the ceramics. Awnings, telephones and post boxes can be added then, as was the original Fish & Chips queue of people before it became part of a mould.

ii) Bumpy Doodles, a thick opaque raised glaze, was used to alter some modelled items and also to add snow on Uppingham Market just for the Christmas Decorations Ironmonger, piece by piece. Bumpy Doodles is defined as a painting technique.

Garden Shop Christmas Decorations Ironmonger
Original Garden Shop
with integral modelled items
Christmas Decorations
Ironmonger with alterations

iii) A Roof Bevel variation on the London Small Shop done initially for Santa's Workshop, simply has the roof corners sliced off by machine, piece by piece, to make it look a bit different.

c) Add-ons After All Firings

Items cast and fired separately and added after all firings are often stuck on with glue.

i) In the Mummers example above, Iona also created the Knights' shields as add-ons under the gable.

ii) This category also includes Christmas trees, the metal railings and lamp on London Sherlock and the baskets on The Basket Maker, created from hand-pressed moulds. Cara's add-ons to the Farmers' Market are initially created from hand-rolled clay and are then fired separately.

Christmas Farmers Market Basket Maker
Christmas Farmers Market The Basket Maker

Painting Variations

As buildings variations have been dealt with reasonably comprehensively, I have added a short note about paintings. There are basically three types:

1) Open Paintings (often referred to as an Open Edition)

These are unnumbered. They are often referred to as standard paintings, if and while they form part of the main range. You can also have Open Paintings with a very short but unnumbered run.

2) Limited Paintings

The final number in the series is set at the outset and appears on the back as 1/30, 2/30 and so on.

3) Open, Numbered Paintings

These have No 1, No 2 etc on the back. The final number is not set at the start but should be published once the painting has been retired. As examples, all paintings in the Out of Africa series were originally ONPs.

There can be variations to a basic painting within any range above, such as different colour schemes.

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