In the Studio: Working with Rectangles

I've been working with rectangle trays recently. The top two (color) are 9 inches and the bottom one (white-on-white) is about 14 inches. I've made square plates/platters for awhile so it is a nice change to elongate the form. As I think about it this might be the first time I've worked with a rectangle. 

I used the dogwood pattern a lot on these but I'm diggin the honeysuckle more. Its asymmetry feels more natural than the others. The next time I make the larger one I'll shrink the pattern increasing the negative space. This will make that left flower seem really lonely over there in the corner, which will call for the food presentation to complete the pot. I like setting up this scenario. I create tension on the form with decoration and the user releases it by arranging the food.

Any thoughts/preferences from the bloggerverse on these?


  1. I like the spareness of the dogwood color one the best with the open space between, would be interesting to see what the white on white, actually all of them, look like after firing. You've given me something to think about - how to place the food on the plate taking into consideration the decoration on the plate.

    Could you show the different foot treatments of these trays?

  2. Hey Ben, I like them both! I think the similar proportion of deco to negative space on both versions draws them together. I am guessing that they will play well off each other on the same display. It will be interesting to see what happens when you shrink the deco. My own mind tends toward subtlety and minimalism, but I think your decorations are so tasteful that you could even take it in the other direction and do more deco and less negative space. Might be interesting to see, if only for a lark....

    Hey, I had wanted to comment on something before, but I know I forgot. Have you ever played around with sprigging? I'm thinking specifically about the center part of the dogwood flowers. The depth of the petals is already so three dimensional with the brushstroke marks, I was just thinking of other ways to play up the surface. There is already so much variety between the brush marks, the built up lines, and the sgraffito, sprigging just seems like another tool for your tool box. It just struck me as I was perusing your website. But that's just me thinking out loud....

  3. Ben, these are gorgeous! I think you and Rectangles have started the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

  4. Thanks guys and gals for the input. Its like an online critique, which is great for me.
    Linda, I'll try and snap a few pics of the feet for the next round of these. I've been working with two types-one that exactly follows the shape of the rim of the pot(rectangle rim= rectangle foot-like picture 3 above) and the other that accentuates only the end of the pot by duplicating the rim (rectangle rim= "[" shaped foot at both ends of the pot-like picture 6 above.)I'm leaning towards the "[" shaped foot because it gives more visual lift. Pushes the pot off the table while making it physically lighter.
    Carter, sprigging is a great idea! I haven't thought about that but it could be a great way to mix 2-D/3-D. I think I'll start by attaching little slabs to the center core of the dogwood. I like the idea that they would look like sprigs but might be a different shape each time. I've avoided sprigs because they look too cookie cutter but that doesn't mean I can't use the principle idea in an interesting way. I dig the way Lisa Orr uses sprigs. They are almost hidden with the glaze but you pick up on them as you use the pot.

  5. Very nice Ben, I especially like the curve of the piece. It gives it movement and charm. Your hand painting is always lovely.