Thursday, October 27, 2011

Ode to a Lacebark Elm

When we first moved to this house, I became very fascinated with a tree that was near our living room /studio window.  The tree branches create this high ceiling, festooned with silky drapes of Spanish moss.  The bark is so beautiful, it's got a magnificent mottling that is almost like a patchwork of grey and rust.  Early on, I was pretty certain it was a type of elm because of the leaves, which are a deep forest green and very detailed, but I had the hardest time finding which one.  After a lot of searching I discovered that it is the Lacebark Elm  also known as the Chinese Elm.

I have loved to use leaves with clay since almost forever.  In the early days it was with Play-doh, but I was always looking for ways to use leaves in my artwork.  Of course, the elm makes a fantastic impression.  When working with clay it's very important to use leaves with a very pronounced veining to get the best impressions. I've also been experimenting with making impression "molds" with these leaves as well. This way I can created a raised design like this one here, shown on a piece I am still working on :

 After firing this *should* become a darker brown although I really do love this rusty shade of the unfired stain. I may have to work on figuring a way to get a similar effect...maybe with underglazes. 

This elm impression tile is available at I plan to add some of the pendants, possibly as necklaces in the next week or so!

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