During my previous course work I used vessels as a way of exploring loss and emptiness. Vessels are also often circular and therefore portray a continuation, life cycle. I believe these ideas are still important to my current practice, but I want to develop these ideas further.
Tying in with my thought processes and research around ossuaries and charnel houses, the skull and more specifically the cranium has an interesting vessel like shape. The head is also where memories are made and hats protect our heads. These all tie together well.
I want to experiment with the cranium shape as a vessel.
I have a plastic educational skull and I cast the cranium in plaster to create a mould for further experimentation.
I have used this as a mold for textured clay samples as well as paper pulp.
I used cotton pulp pressed into the plaster mold with a knitted hat impression on the inside.
The other side shows the skull texture.
Next I created another but used chinese ink on the knitting to accentuate the texture…
But it leaked through to the other side.
I dyed some of the cotton pulp naturally with walnuts having alum mordanted it first.
I put a thick layer of walnut dyed pulp first and let most of the moisture dry out (24hrs) then I put another layer in with knitting covered in chinese ink.
I left this to dry for several days.
This definately worked better and the walnut gives a good bone like colour.
Next I tried using damp handmade paper sheets of cotton pulp laid into the mold as well as over a domed mold…
Texture of knitting
This reminds me of the papery texture of skin on egyptian mummies or papery wasp nests.
Clay with knitting impression
Skull detail on the outside
I also tried a basic bone china mix… Porcelain clay with 30% (ish) bone ash added.