top of page

Tablewares/Tiles III:  Explorations, Ideas, Concepts

This page is a personal journal of thoughts and experiments and responses to examples of wares that I find interesting.

GULLAH BASKET  in-progress drawing of the woven sweet grass work indigenous to Charleston, SC

One can not walk very far in Charleston, SC without encountering the distinctive baskets woven from local grasses in patterns and workmanship that traces its origins to African traditions. (There was a display in our hotel lobby.)


These antlers were drawn from life from a pair mounted in a hunting camp in Mississippi.  The use of such a motif, while completely appropriate for a hunting camp, like the mochaware decorations, causes a reexamination of pattern making and the meaning of  applied decorations. 

Pontalba Ironwork coffee mug

This design was inspired by the iron work lining the balconies of the famous Pontalba buildings on Jackson Sq in New Orleans.  The center cartouch can be filled with a fleur de lys or monogram or other image. 

ENGLISH MOCHA WARE  early 19th century "EARTHWORM" pattern

I am intrigued by the early attempts at decoration that departed from scenes and flowers and became almost abstractions. 

Early 19th Century English Lustre decoration

I have always gravitated to lustres, especially the Sunderland purplish rose color.  When combined with figurative work, lustre becomes an exceptionally attractive decorative tool. 


As I had noted before, my familiarity with drawing with  pen and ink led me quite naturally to emulate the style of the transfer. However, this has raised many questions, the most important of which is, 'What do I wish to express?"  Just as I became uncomfortable in designing individual tiles, I now am reluctant to simply design products bearing the images and vocabularies of "transferware."  What is left to be said?


In seeking inspiration, I am choosing to examine earthenwares, faiences, and examples generated by potteries rather than the extremely developed porcelains of the major producers.  So much of the design emphasis at this period was drawn from the love of the Chinese imported works.  Rather than design yet more "blue and white' chinoiserie patterns, I am seeking fresh interpretations from those late 18th and early 19th Century "INTERPRETATIONS."   Strangely enough, my goal of producing serviceable wares mirrors those early potters' efforts to  create high style products in emulation of the costly Chinese imports.   

Polychrome examples

Early English Delft tin glazed wares

bottom of page