Monday, May 5, 2014

Muddy Monday: The View From A Hill

As promised, here is the other half of the story on the little "Horse on the Hill" stoneware by Maureen Love. The first (harrowing) part of his restoration adventure can be read here.

The "Before", with original repair by Maureen, as it came from her estate.

Building up a replacement leg with epoxy, on a wire.

After the initial putty building layer was set up, I added bits over months, any time I'd have just a little bit leftover from a project or a resin fill, that was still of workable consistency. Slowly, the limbs filled out. The part that was hardest to make a sculptural decision for was where the grass blows over a leg.

Hole in the chest is a pinhole in the glaze, not the clay.

Since this is the only known casting, and there are no known photos of what the original design looked like, I was left to guess. I just extended the trajectories of the waving grass, and tried to maintain the same length and style.

The glaze on this stoneware has a very evident crawl, leaving some clay color showing through in a range of browns and terracotta reds. Since the gray part of the glaze is on top, I did the underpainting of the repairs all in browns and reds, by hand-brushing. After this dried, I applied a rather thick layer of gray mix, twisting and poking the brush (a 10/0) with a feathering motion. This imitated the way the gray glaze left gaps of red showing through. Where the gray glaze pooled in dents and details, I extended it onto the rebuilt areas. While the glaze crawl appears random at first glance, it follows laws of liquid surface tension and gravity. A random paint application would look out of place, so I had to follow the same "rules".

Left: Before
Right: After
(my photo colors are exactly the same)

While the glaze had its issues, between the pinholes and the crawling, it has a lovely faux stone look and feel. The owner was very pleased with my work, and has since given him (or her) to me as gift. I am very excited to add him to my collection, and view him on his hill, every day. This horse, and its base, remind me a great deal of the "mystery" horses Maureen originally sculpted for Bill Lenaberger, which were produced by Lane Ceramics and Marcia of California. It fits my collection, being so keen on research about those forgotten horses by Maureen.

With gratitude to collector Jo Ellen Arnold, for sharing this little treasure with me!

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