Small Talk Tag: Pottery

Miniature Masterworks: Lee-Ann Chellis Wessel

Italian Charger, 2013, Lee-Ann Chellis Wessel, American

Here at Small Talk we have featured several of Lee-Ann Chellis Wessel’s egg tempera paintings, but not what she might be most well known for: ceramics. Wessel has a BFA from Moore College of Art and a MFA from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in ceramics and has been creating fine-sale works of art in pottery and porcelain for more than 35 years.

Wessel says her work is about presenting beautiful, old objects in a new way to revitalize interest in their history, beauty, and style. She not only researches the objects themselves before starting a new project, but also the original creator of the piece, the methods and materials used to make it, where it was made, who owned and displayed it, and the historical context in which it existed. With all of this information in hand, she sets out to capture the essence of the piece in 1:12 scale.

Lee-Ann Chellis Wessel is one of over sixty artists participating in Miniature Masterworks, September 15-17, 2017.

Miniature Masterworks: Jon Almeda

Vases, 2004-2008, Jon Almeda, American

If you follow the miniature community on Instagram or Facebook, you have probably already been mesmerized by the work of Jon Almeda. Not only does he throw his miniature ceramics on a wheel, but he has created a small portable one to take to the natural settings that inspire him the most. A native of Hawaii and the Pacific Northwest, Almeda’s pieces reflect the calm, cool dark waters and textures of the ocean, and the tall evergreens and luscious flora of each area.

Almeda has always gone to the extremes. His early philosophy was “bigger is better” as he endeavored to create large clay works. This outlook changed when he stumbled upon Creating Ceramic Miniatures, a book by Carla and John Kenny. As Almeda Pottery, he now strives to make 1:12 scale pieces with such detail and proportion that they trick the viewers into thinking that they are much larger than they really are.

Jon Almeda is one of over sixty artists participating in Miniature Masterworks, September 15-17, 2017.

Maiolica in Miniature

Traditional Maiolica

During the Renaissance in Europe, owning colorful glazed pottery pieces known as maiolica (or majolica) was considered a sign of good taste and affluence. Named for the Spanish city of Majorca, this ceramic process made its way to Italy, France, and Mexico over the centuries. Maiolica’s intricate multicolored designs are created by applying a variety of metallic oxide glazes on top of a base layer of white glaze.

This miniature charger by Le Chateau Interiors was based on a full-scale 15th century charger at the J. Paul Getty Museum. In making the miniature, artist Jeffrey Guéno diverged from the traditional maiolica glazing process and applied both the white base glaze and colorful top glaze directly to the bisque pottery. Combining the layers allowed for the charger to retain the sharp details of the peacock feather pattern. Fine details are, after all, what make miniatures so spectacular!

A Tiny Tradition

Teresa Wildflower

In 1994, November was officially proclaimed Native American Heritage Month by the president of the United States. The month is designated to celebrate the rich cultural traditions of the first Americans as well as pay tribute to their sacrifices and contributions throughout American history. As part of the celebration, we’re featuring one of our favorite Native American artist’s work from T/m’s collection.

Chemehuevi artist Theresa Wildflower’s miniature pottery exemplifies some of the rich artistic traditions of the Native Americans of the Southwest. As an accomplished potter, Wildflower created these traditional coil and pinch pottery forms in 1:12 scale. The ornate, hand painted geometric designs are carried over from symbols historically used to transcend inter-tribal language barriers. While her work is contemporary, miniature pottery from Southwest Native American Pueblos dates back for generations.

The Girl Behind the Bonnet

sunbonnet sue images

This nine-piece Sunbonnet Sue Tea Set is one of the most colorfully illustrated children’s tea set in our collection. Who exactly is Sunbonnet Sue? With a face shrouded in mystery (ok, well, a sunbonnet anyway), Sunbonnet Sue was a popular illustration in the late 19th and early 20th century. She appeared on children’s school primers, china, and became a popular quilt block design.

The tea set here was made by Royal Bayreuth in Bavaria around 1905. The Sunbonnet Sue images were applied to the porcelain using a transfer technique and a secondary gold leaf pattern was added on top. Royal Bayreuth still continues to make porcelain today, and many of their antique pieces are highly collectible.

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