Heather Tailor Porcelain Artist

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Works in progress




The first photo shows the black outline drawing and the unfired Texture Paste line work on this 11" x 71/2" vase and the 2nd photo shows the vase after it had been fired. In the 3rd & 4th photo of the front and back of the vase,  Matt Black has been used on the lower part and the ribbon-like leaves have been filled in with Liquid Bright Gold. The body and wings of the cicadas have been coloured with yellow lustre and  in a further firing, shaded with orange and brown lustre.  Finally, the cicadas have been detailed in gold and platinum.  Mother of Pearl has been crisscrossed across the background and streaked down the leaves plus some additional gold line work added to front and back.     I always apply techniques that require the highest firing temperature first with techniques that require the lowest firing temperature being applied last.  The Texture Paste was fired on first at 820C followed by the Matt Black fired at 800oC.  The lustres, gold and platinum were fired to 720oC.


 FIRST........the planning and drawing process.

I use an Artline 04 black pen to draw onto the porcelain as it can be easily rubbed off.  The broad 'V' shaped panel on the larger vase has been blocked out with Masking Tape and the row of medallions, that will feature down the front, are taped to a card on the left of the photo. The feature medallions for the smaller vase have been temporarily stuck to the vase so the panels can be planned. Photo also shows the roll of masking tape and the sliding ruler cutter and mat I use to slice the masking tape into strips.  These cutters & mats are available from art & craft shops. They are commonly used for trimming photos. 

SECOND STAGE......attaching tape to the pieces.

The roll of tape on the left is builder's jointing tape - a self adhesive mesh tape and available from hardware stores. The scissors on the right are Pinking Shears. Masking tape has been stuck onto the vase where undecorated areas are required.  The mesh tape has been stuck to areas where a geometric design is required. I try and tape up all my pieces together hence the 4 jewellery medallions as well.   I use the pinking shears to create a zig zag edge on some of the strips of masking tape as a variation from just straight edges. Other 'craft' scissors can also be used to create interesting edges.  The other tool illustrated at the bottom of the photo is a Scalpel. I use this to cut away unwanted tape.

Once the pieces have been covered with tape, I mix dry Texture Paste powder with Copaiba Medium into a soft consistency and sponge it to cover the entire surface as evenly and thinly as possible.   All the tape is then carefully removed and the piece fired to 820C.

 THIRD STAGE.....Copper Lustre                                                     

Photo on the left shows the vase after being fired to 820C. The undecorated areas are shiny and the slightly raised mesh design visable. The third stage is to coat the entire surface liberally with Copper Lustre and fire to 720-750C.  The surface will need two fired coats of Copper. Photo on the right shows one of the pieces with the copper work complete.




 FOURTH STAGE............Lustre is applied over the fired copper to create blue green, blue, violet and red violet colours and fired to 720-750C.  I mix blue and green lustre together then thin the mixture with Lustre Thinning Oil and apply it in large brushfuls over the piece allowing the lustre to 'flow' slightly on the surface leaving some areas with a thin coat and other areas with a slighly thicker coat of lustre.  A very thin application of blue lustre over copper will fire red violet and a thick coat 'yellow green' with shades of blue violet, blue and blue green in between.  Experiment.   Photo below shows two of the Geometric Series vases after they had been lustred and fired.   They are now ready for the gold work.

Final stage................ Gold Work.    I use a 12% Liquid Bright Gold and a Fay Good Perfect Point Pen for the fine line design work and a Fay Good Detailing brush to fill in some of the squares to create a pattern.   Also I occasionally use a Reservoir (Kemper) pen for the fine line work.  The gold work is tedious and because unfired gold is hard to see on top of dark colours, I only do a small amount of work at a time, firing in between to 700C (gold does not need to be fired any higher)    A finished piece can take anything up to 15 firings to complete.

Photos of the finished pieces are shown on my PICTURE GALLERY PAGE.   


These two vases were created in 2007 for an art exhibition entitled 'Icons'. 

As a subject I decided to paint skinny long legged fashion models and title the work 'Fashion Icons' and I selected two 6" x 3" rectangular plain white porcelain vases and designed them as a pair to be displayed slightly turned away from one another so the inside panels were visable.

First task was to research the subject and draw the design to fit onto the panels of the vases.  As a source I used fashion magazines and sketched the figures in pencil, then outlined them in black.

The drawings were then taped to the vases with a piece of Graphite paper in between and a ball point pen used to retrace only the outline of the figures transferring the shapes to the porcelain.


Once the figures had been transferred to the vases it was necessary to mask them out and colour the background first.  As I intended to have a Copper Lustre background, I used BLACK LUSTRE RESIST to completely block in the figures.  

Lustre Resist is a black waterbased product that resembles black poster paint and is made specifically to block out lustre.  It is easy to apply with a brush or  pen and easily removed with water. 

Picture on the left shows the figures completely blocked out with the Lustre Resist. 

When the Lustre Resist dried the surface was wiped over with Acetone  (Methylated Spirits can also be used as a cleaner)  This removes any remaining graphite lines, dust and finger marks that could damage the lustre surface.  (Acetone will not remove or smudge dry Lustre Resist)



Copper lustre was then brushed liberally over the entire surface and when it was dry to touch a marbelizer was applied on top of the copper to the side panels and back.    Vases were then fired to 720oC.

I use HANOVIA MARBELIZER but it is not available from Australian suppliers. This product is only available in the USA.  However, a similar effect can achieved by using a piece of scrunched up PLASTIC WRAP and pressing it onto tacky lustre. 

The picture on the right shows one of the vases as it came out of the kiln with the lustre resist still in place. (Lustre Resist fires white) and the other vase has had the resist removed to reveal the white figure shapes.   The resist can be rubbed off with a soft cloth or if it proves stubborn, use a little JIFF on a rag. Jiff is a cream cleanser available from the supermarket to clean porcelain baths and basins etc.

The figures are painted in just Black and Red china paint with a pale Flesh colour used for skin tone. The onglaze paint was fired to 800oC.

THE PRODUCTS USED IN THE ABOVE WORK...........Black Lustre Resist - Copper Lustre - Nelsons Black - Meissen Red - Blonde Flesh are Fay Good products available from Interdec Australia Ltd. (see Links page)

HANOVIA MARBELIZER is available from National Artcraft ..........www.nationalartcraft.com - however the company will not export this product to Australia without certified documentation (product is flammable).