Heraldic Majolica Plate Set

These plates were created to be the prizes for the Lady Mary Memorial Tournament.  Since I’d been painting on ceramics for quite a while it seemed like a good idea to do something in the same direction as that.

Our event had 2 different themes.. the official theme was Mythical Beasts, and for the feast we were doing a late italian renaissance type feast so that kinda turned into a secondary theme. With both of those were born these plates. I did a lot of googling around and found a lot of example of a style of painting ceramics called Majolica. These plates unfortunately did not use the proper period materials for this style but were inspired by.

The biggest differences are:

Test piece: I glazed this one first with the new glaze to see how it looked

Glaze vs Underglaze

I didn’t use underglaze for these plates.. Underglazes have a much higher pigment content than glazes.. and I believe would have needed to be clear glazed overtop as well.

White bisque vs clay

The plates done in period would have been a coloured clay (terra cotta or the likes) and coated with a white glaze before being decorated.  Mine were already white but I gave them an additional coating of white anyway.. it also changes the way the glaze goes on (plus if you goof up you can scrape it back down to the white, pretty effectively erasing your mistakes)

Nic helped me out quite a bit with the layout. The outside rims of the plates were my design, heavily inspired by existant plates I had found online.  For the intetior design I mocked it up and he cleaned up the design a bit on paper. Then I photocopied a version to edit it a little more and add in the rippling banners for the text.

I used tracing paper to transfer the designs onto the plates. The centers of the plates were painted entirly by me.. the exterior designs Nic did quite a bit of work on.. because my time management skills suck and I would’ve run out of time to finish them if I had done them all by myself.


Painting Notes:

I used Amaco’s Teacher’s Palette glazes to paint these paints. Overall I think they paint on nice and have a good strong colour to them. Not my absolute favorite glazes but they’re near the top of the list.

To plot out the design on the outside rim I started on the computer. Specifically the scale texture part was difficult to figure out since it needs to at least attempt to be a uniform pattern! From the examples they seemed to have the same number of scales per each row and they just got fatter as you got further out on the plate. So I tried to keep with that idea. It was a challenge getting them the proper size and lined up with the proper curve on the plate.

I sectioned out the plate’s rim using MKM’s Designer disk.. because even though I could probably eyeball it I’m a little anal rententive when it comes to design and I’d rather know they were even 🙂

Firing Notes:

We ran the kiln to Cone 06 for these, and they turned out well but there was a bit of variation in the final finish of the glaze between the plate at the bottom of the kiln, and the ones higher up.

The Griffin plate was in the very bottom, and the glaze on that one is more textured than the others. Which means the glaze didn’t get up to as high of a temperature as the other plates so it didn’t run and smooth out as much.

So for future firings we either need to fire a little hotter or make sure that stuff in the bottom doesn’t need as much heat (or start stacking the kiln a little higher… or possibly replace the bottom elements)