I recently began taking pictures of my vast “chachki” collection so that I could participate in the medallion show being held on the Model Horse Blab website. Unfortunately the I will probably run out of time before the deadline (this Friday) to get them all photographed.
The ceramic community has a long tradition of creating these kinds of items, and I have avidly collected them for as long as I have been involved. Originally most came to me as show awards, since that was the primary purpose for them in the early years of hobby-based ceramic production. Tempting awards helped to fill the ceramic classes, which in turn help foster a vibrant ceramic showing community. Over time, however, more and more of my pieces came from my interactions with other ceramic artists. Many of us made these items so we would have something to send to friends and colleagues. Because of this, I tend to look at my collection as a tangible reminder of my connection to people in our community.
The other thing that makes these pieces special is that they are often used for testing ideas. This is true for the sculpting, the production and the finishing. It is so much easier to try out a new sculpting style, or glaze combination, on small bas relief. They are excellent pieces for experimentation!
So I have been eager to share them through this experimental show. I also thought it might be fun to share the design process that goes into something like this. The article on medallion design in the recent issue of The Boat has had me thinking about my own methods for this kind of project.
I will have to give a warning, though. The project I’ll be using is my 2009 Christmas gift. I’m going to be posting some step-by-step pictures, so for those who exchange holiday trinkets with me, you have been warned! If being surprised by the finished piece is important, you might want to skip reading the blog for a few weeks.