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rayaldridge

Bowl Decorations... Inside Or Outside Of Bowl?

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Okay, I have a decision to make. 

 

I've always felt that bowls for actual use are often best at displaying food if the interior of the bowl is white.  On the other hand, decorating the exterior of a shallow soup bowl means that no one will see the decoration without taking the time to pick up the piece.  So I've almost always decided in favor of decorated interiors.

 

I still feel that the interiors of large shallow bowls make the best canvas for decorative surface treatments, but now I'm trying to decide if I should change my ways and make my smaller bowls with white interiors and decorated exteriors.  I did a batch of these, and I'll include a couple poor photos of one of these smaller bowls, plus a pic of a big bowl decorated on the inside.

 

So how do you feel about this decorative principle?  Would you decorate these bowls on the inside, or the outside?  Or both?

 

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With small bowls I always appreciate texture and carving more than images ... I like the feel of carving when I am handling bowls. You are right about images, they do get lost on the outside.

On the inside, I am not a huge fan of white but I do enjoy something interesting to look at as I empty the bowl. One I own has a single fish on the bottom. Others have color patterns.

The problem with doing too much decorative work on small bowls is that you cannot capture the time $$$ back in the sales price ... but that is the business side of me talking!

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>>So how do you feel about this decorative principle?  Would you decorate these bowls on the inside, or the outside?  Or both?

 

Yes.

 

The inside and outside of a bowl is a different canvas that leads to different designs.

On smaller bowls the outside is seen frequently enough if the pieces are used.

I go for a smooth inside finish so if carving is part of the pattern I would do it on the outside.

Most of my fancy bowls are decorated on the inside with oxides instead of carving. Some of my favorite (early) pieces had carved outsides that looked pretty and felt good to hold.

 

And the people who don't spend time decorating their work--spend an extra hour trying to sell it :-)

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I guess that my take on this is a matter of type of bowl and ease of decorating. If the bowl is a bowl with a high rise in the side walls, then I would go for an outside decoration. If it is a wide low bowl then I would probably decorate the inside. I guess I am lazy in that reaching into the inside of the taller bowl is problematic for me without using a support. 

 

 

best,

Pres

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ray, those are wonderful.  i want to touch them.

 

you can see my answer in my gallery.  a pile of empty bowl supper bowls.  i left them upside down on the selection table so they could be seen and someone asked if they were reserved because they were upside down.  good intentions, unexpected results.  (was Murphy and his law around?)

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It depends on the bowl shape and the glaze I choose to put on the bowls.  Someone close by who has turned a bowl, still with a little soup in it to see what was on the outside  or underneath so be careful...

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all I can add is many people buy my bowls because of the wild glass inside-which get covered up with food. I do not think they think this out much. They see the glazes running inside and buy it on that fact. So I guess I'm saying plain white is boring for most. I could not sell as many bowls if the insides are plain glazed. Thats what I have found. The inside is what you see when you pick up a bowl or see one on a shelve usually.

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Some want a plain inside or surface so they can highlight the presentation of your food; others like the color, etc. Restaurants don't want their dishes competing for attention with the food being served. Many Japanese platters/plates will have a dark area for light/white foods and a light/white area for colored foods. As John B. would say, "It depends."

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So how do you feel about this decorative principle?  Would you decorate these bowls on the inside, or the outside?  Or both?

 

As many have said above..... it depends.

 

But, I like the texture.  Could you do bowls with a flatter rim, like a deep plate, and put texture on the rim.  Then it could be seen and touched, but would not be noisy when spooning out the last of the soup/porridge/cereal/custard.......

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Thanks, everyone, for the perspectives and kind words.

 

I've done the next round of bowls with fluting and carving through slips on the outside, and instead of white interiors, I've sprayed slips on the inside.  So there will be color on the inside, and color and texture on the outside.

 

This spray and carve approach to slips is relatively new to me, though I've always used slip extensively in my work.  In fact, I had a bunch of these pieces in the last firing, and when I unloaded the kiln, I realized I'd come upon a new decorative direction.  The fluting around the base of these bowls (and now a bunch of mugs) is there partly for its tactile quality.  When you hold one of these bowls in the palm of your hand, the fluting is interesting to touch, but the rest of the outside curve above the foot is carved only lightly, so you get the smooth sweep of the glaze and its natural texture as it breaks over the slip.  It's a little odd, but I discovered this approach largely because I was trying to get a batch of small pipes fired, and wanted to decorate a bunch of other stuff quickly and cleanly so I could fill the kiln.  I did the decoration largely on autopilot one late night; there might be a lesson there.

 

Deep interior carving is really not functional; my wife Nancy was just telling me that one little bowl in her cupboard doesn't get used that much because of the interior carving.  The big bowl shown in my first message is only lightly carved, a millimeter or two deep through a thin layer of slip, so silverware won't clatter on the carving.

 

I agree that the shape of the bowl matters a lot when making the decision of inside or outside decoration.  Big shallow bowls get interior decoration, but in the bisque I did last night I have a big deep mixing bowl with the decoration confined to the exterior.

 

Anyway, I'll post pics of the compromise approach when they're done.

 

Here are some raw soup bowls decorated with slip:

 

 

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Not too long ago I told you all about the project I did where I sewed quilted microwave bowl holders to sell, and made bowls to go with them.  Well, the bowl holders were colorful and patterned, so I figured solid colored bowls would go best with that.  Just for variety, I made a few bowls with some 2 color glaze patterned interior...and darned if those weren't the first ones to sell.  I was quite surprised.  But then, my tastes often seem to be at odds with other people's.

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Ray, I admire people who have the patience to do the kind of detail that you illustrate in the middle bowl of your initial post here...no kidding, my hat is off to you for executing a fine design!

 

I tend to use glaze combinations on the interiors of my bowls rather than adding texture or brush work. Concave (interior)surfaces with the glaze palette I use most often will do some fun things that add interest. That is enough for me. On the other hand, I like for the exterior surface (where people actually handle the piece) to include more tactile/texture work. On large mixing bowls, for instance, I may do chattering or fluting that is placed so that the user knows there is something to respond to touch.

 

As others have mentioned, there is no guessing of how consumer tastes will go. It is your work and you put yourself INTO that work...so find something that you can be proud of (with at least some view of how others might see it) and run with it!

 

Peace,

-Paul

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I'm kind of with you Paul.  I like to let layered glazes do their thing on the inside.  I'll experiment more here, because if they run, not so much of a problem.

 

If I do any type of interior design, it will be a wide, shallow grooves, or a spiral groove, as it takes almost no time to do, and looks good.

As I don't sell my work, I can't say for sure, but I would imagine that such designs would do well.  I know my students "Oh and Ah", when I show them how to do it.

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I once had a customer ask me why bowls were always decorated on the inside.  She had a daughter in a wheelchair who only saw the tableware from a low angle and found the outsides of bowls very boring.  As someone else said, it depends.  Lin

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Thanks!  All the color comes from sprayed-on slip.  Sometimes I spray on one slip, then carve the surface and spray on another.  It results in pretty rich surfaces.  The glaze is a sort of whitish glaze with a lot of titanium.  I didn't start getting surfaces like that until I thinned it down quite a lot.  The glaze is mostly dipped; sometimes I'll spray the glaze if the piece is too big to fit into the glaze bucket.  The tree frog is, long story short, like a paper resist with slip sprayed over it, then peeled off and scribed a bit for details.

 

Most of this decorative technique has happened over the last couple of months.  When I saw the first of these come out of the kiln, it was a revelation to me, and one of those moments when you realize you're going in a new direction.

 

Here's another detail.  I wiped the colored slip from the rim.  Then I gave the rim an extra dip of glaze, and you can see how it spills down over the carving and obscures it.

 

 

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Actually, the squiggles are made by cutting through the slip into the leather-hard pot.  That exposes the white porcelain underneath.  The glaze tends to fill the lines and make them white.

 

Sometimes I'll cut through the first layer of slip into the porcelain, and then spray with a different color slip, so I get a mixture of two colors over most of the pot, and purer color over the incised areas.

 

Here's a detail from something I call a ball pipe.  I first cut some flutes in the shape, then sprayed it with blue-green slip, then cut away some of the first layer of slip, re-sprayed with the purple slip, and then cut through to the porcelain again with the finer squiggles.

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Looking good Ray.

 

Isn't a titanium glaze amazing! I started using one as a highlight in my detail spray gun. It makes so many of my surfaces so much more interesting, with just a slight hint of spray so much wonderfulness. 

 

These two pictures have a titanium glaze sprayed very lightly in these areas and you can see the variation that comes from it, change in color and fluidity. It's a wonderful thing.

 

I think I like a plain inside of a bowl that is to be used for soups and anything that fills up the bowl with liquid. For things like salads or like a pasta bowl, I don't mind decoration on the inside rim of the bowl. But I think a lot of people want the food to be a part of the main picture in the pot. 

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