How’s a nice round napping ginger kitty for autumn, napping on a bright blue bed like the clear blue skies of September?
Jelly Bean’s roundness is a little exaggerated but it really was a big nap. Another one of the feline shapes I love.
“Big Nap” decorative dishes are based on one of my brush pen sketches, each one handmade, hand painted and unique, and available in two other color designs as well as the ginger cat. The colors I chose reflect my influences from Japanese brush pen art, Theophile Steinlen, and Andy Warhol. They can be used for decoration on a tabletop or hanging on the wall with a plate hanger, or they come in handy to catch things like jewelry, change, little notes, candies, or even as a soapdish.
The Big Nap Decorative Dish is 6.5″ wide x 5″ high, and about 1/2″ deep, made of polymer clay and painted with a variety of paints and finishes. Each one is handmade, hand-painted and unique.
When I made my initial trinket dishes in 2016 I developed a ton of ideas after working with both polymer and air-dry clay, many involving my brush pen sketches integrated in several ways.
How I make the “Big Nap” dishes
The “Big Nap” dishes represent one of those styles, a little larger than the original 4″ trinket dishes, and using the outline of a sketch to shape the finished dish.
The round-ish shape of “The Big Nap” fit well to this idea. I I knew I’d use the big round section of his mack around to his front paw, and while I loved cutting out all Bean’s legs and thought that would make a really neat design I also felt it would be too fragile. I added a little to his shape, like a cushion underneath him, to fill in around his legs, and was gratified that I actually liked that better. It was an opportunity to use more colors, for one thing. Also, I want the dishes to be useful as well as decorative, and the cutouts for the legs would reduce the uses because it just couldn’t hold as many different things.
Cutting, forming and baking
Because the clay is baked and it works best if the object is held to the final shape while baking the size ended up being determined by the one dish I could use to form the gentle curve I wanted that could also be baked in the oven along with the clay. So I sized the sketch according to the dish, and then place that outline on rolled out clay and cut around it with a knife. I place it on the ceramic dish I chose to give it the gentle lift around the edges and bake it with no design on it at all.
Finishing and embellishing
After it’s baked, I sand here and there if I have rough edges, then start painting.
Japanese brush pen
Sometimes just a single interesting line is most expressive. For the plain white dish, I use the same brush pen to draw the sketch onto the clay that I used for the original sketch.
After Theophile Steinlen
For the Steinlen design I paint in the red and black, then when that’s dry I use a lettering brush and gold metallic alcohol ink. The red and black with gold is an homage to Theophile Steinlen’s style when illustration black cats with an accent color. He has been an inspiration since before I can remember, and while the black and white design was what inspired this particular dish, this design was the color version I envisioned before I knew I even wanted a color version.
After Andy Warhol
For the Warhol design I paint in the orange and blue, then when that’s dry I draw the sketch in that same brush pen. The orange and blue combination with the black outline is inspired by Andy Warhol. Years ago when I began filling my black ink and brush pen sketches with bright colors readers compared them to Warhol’s cats. Being from my hometown I had grown up with that as an influence and didn’t even realize it.
More like this
Mr. Sunshine wants to know why I didn’t use him as the model for my dish.
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