High Priestess Dishes
These dishes were made for a special ink-themed dinner held by Filigree Suppers in late October. I was feeling witchy/gothic/dark/sexy vibes when I was brainstorming what to make.
Right off the bat, I wanted to make a low bowl since they’re extremely versatile for serving (hold varying levels of sauces or broths, etc). A low bowl also offers opportunities for high drama since the sides reach much higher than that of a regular plate—visual stimulation on multiple planes.
I recently finished a commission of small lotus dishes for the ACLU Next Generation Foundation that used cut rims to form lotus flower shapes. While I love this shape, the ebb and flow of grooves and points creates a positive and balanced energy to my eye and I wanted a moodier feeling for this Inked Supper. More tumult.
These bowls start, as most pieces at Monsoon Pottery do, on the wheel as a lump of clay. I throw a low bowl that’s about 9” in diameter and trim it once it’s dry enough.
I tried recording some video of the process to give everyone an inside peek. I clearly don’t take video often so these clips are all in portrait mode. I neglected to turn off my music for the video but I wanted to keep the sound so you can hear the clay thuds and cuts. Hopefully it’s still a good watch! Here are the steps it goes through:
Drawing the rim design - I freehand this with every dish so that each piece doesn’t turn out exactly the same.
Cutting out the rim design
Cleaning up the edges with a vegetable peeler
Cleaning up the areas where the curves meet each other
Smoothing the edges with a sponge
Eliminating the tips from a lotus dish design gave me the look I wanted. Instead of the balanced ebb and flow of energy, I feel energy endlessly building and charging the dish.
So, why a hexagon? A couple reasons: they occur often in nature and the six-sided geometry created just the right amount of drama for a bowl this size. I tried making one with eight-sides about halfway through production and the outcome was strangely underwhelming.
The process from here is pretty standard. The dishes were bisque fired to 1830 degrees Fahrenheit and then I hand-dipped them in glaze. The last step was firing them a second time to 2350 degrees Fahrenheit.
When the plates came out of the kiln I felt a moody power from them that immediately called to mind a high priestess. The High Priestess in the tarot deck is a mediator between the dualities of nature; good and evil, negative and positive, masculine and feminine. She is the midpoint between two pillars and represents equal opportunity to learn from each.
The tenmoku pieces (the shiny black ones) especially communicate this delicate tension between the masculine and feminine. I’d like to think Mick and Stevie would enjoy these dishes.