Wednesday, 2 September 2015

31/52 Joyful Torii - Part 1

OK, this next piece is going to be in split into 2 parts for the challenge! No, I'm not cheating, really! There is quite a lot to it all, and I have used two different things on my challenge list so all is good! :)

Having recently won the Silver Accessories Contest in Japan (yay!) my mind is now turning to all things Japanese. I have booked my flights and will be going to the award ceremony at the end of October! It's all super exciting!!

I decided to make a piece inspired by some of the wonderful images I've been looking at online while trying to organise my trip. I particularly like the shape of all the Torii I keep seeing! (A torii is a traditional Japanese gate which marks the entrance to a sacred space.)

My first challenge was to use a heap of pieces of Art Clay Silver that have been sitting beside my kiln for over 5 years now! You can see them in the top photo. There are a lot of little extruded square profile rods and a little roof shape. The clay has discoloured a lot in places, but dried silver clay seems to keep just fine.

This was a rough idea of what I had in mind. (I keep my designing on the simple side! ;) )

I started out making a square tile of silver clay textured on one side only.

A bit more googling images of Torii and I soon realised the roof need to be much shallower - and the other way up with the wider part at the top! I joined the square rods into pairs to make the various beams and added them to plain side of the flat tile of clay to make a framed area. Then I added the roof at a sloping angle to the top.

Whilst I hadn't done any drawings I knew in my mind that I wanted to extend the beams out each side to give a bit more interest to the piece, so I added the four small pieces onto the edges.

Finally I added a couple of hanging loops and my logo to the back. You can see in the photo below I used up most of the rods. These were the only bits left at the end!

Now the piece was ready for firing. This photo gives you an idea of the scale before firing.

Once it was fired I polished up the silver and added a patina to the piece. Then I photographed it ready to do this blog post...

...and then something interesting happened!

As soon as I uploaded all the photos ready to start blogging and looked at them all I realised that I had gone OTT!!! I looked at the photo higher up this post, the one showing the piece before I added the four small extra bits on the side and thought...actually less is more!!!

So it was off for a quick bit of work in Photoshop to check this out! Here are the three options I have. The piece as it is at the moment on the left, with the bottom two edge pieces removed in the middle and with all four edge pieces removed on the right. Isn't modern technology wonderful!

I can immediately see that it has to be option two or three. In my attempt to add more interest I have lost the look of the gate! The question now is do I go with the middle or right hand side one. I'm quite torn between the two different looks, but I think I will most likely go with the middle one :)

Now you have probably read all this (assuming you have made it this far!) thinking...
 'what about that boring plain bit in the middle?? You've called it a Joyful Torii but there is nothing very Joyful about it!!' 

That will be Part 2 in this saga!!

Next I plan (to try) to add a micro mosaic into the the frame!!! It's on my challenge list! I bought a whole load of smalti filato (now you'll have to google that!! :) ) years ago in Murano, Venice, and have never used them. I have no idea whether I can do this as I haven't tried at all before. I realise already I've made the frame a bit too shallow so that will add extra fun, and I'm not even going to tell you what design I have in mind, it might all change once I get started! lol this space for the next instalment - finishing this piece off :)


Have fun!

Joy x


  1. I like the middle one. I like how you did this all in photo shop. I tend to struggle with photos. Keep us posted on your success with this piece ;)

  2. Simply wonderful. Cannot wait to see the finished piece!


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