Willow Pattern.

Having explored some mark making with the ink I wanted to try out its potential in producing a monotone image. At the same time I was having these thoughts I was reading a book, ‘Willow’ by Alison Syme. It is a recent comprehensive study of all things willow. A fantastic book that I am sure I will refer to again and again. It was the chapter ‘Pattern of romance and mystery’, all about the history of the ‘willow pattern’ pottery , inspired from China, and made in potteries all over the world for the last 200 years, that made me think it might be a design I could play with to try out the monotone potential of my ink. Having found a few examples I started to realise many of the designs are slightly different. I decided to focus on the willow trees in the designs alone. I made drawings in my sketchbook and painting them with the inks, building up layers by allowing them to dry in between.

exploring willow pattern using inks made from willow

exploring willow pattern using inks made from willow

This did show the layers would build up nicely, and it had taken me off into a whole new area of willow interest. I quite enjoyed doing these and looking at the willow pattern. I have previously made drawings of willow pattern fragments of china from my garden. Syme’s book also expands onto how contemporary artists, like Robert Dawson, Karen Ryan and Paul Scott, are using this universally recognisable design in their work.

To follow this trail would seem to be straying a bit too far from what I have been doing recently, but there is something about using the image that was made initially in the 19th century in response essentially to the beginning of a market of increasing consumerism and the beginnings of industrialisation that has seen marked environmental degradation, and making that image in a potentially sustainable material. I may come back to it.

Syme, Alison (2014) Willow, Reaktion Books Ltd, London.

This entry was posted in Painting 3- Contextual Studies, Painting 3- Major Project, Reading and Research, Sketchbook and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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