For a new style of living room decorating
Maggie Davies' Semi-Porcelain Blue Bird. 7" high with individually hand-painted feathers. Cost £100 GBP
Maggie Davies' Raku FIred Blue Bird. 5 1/2" high with individually hand-painted detail. Cost £65 GBP
Somewhere hidden among the soft rolling hills of the Dee Valley in
Wales where, as poet Jonathan Hughes pointed out, 'the lazy beauty
rears its head above the beauteous land', is the old town of
Llangollen. And there, hidden away in an old barn is the studio of
Maggie Davies, contemporary ceramicist.
A fitting setting for the way Davies blends the oldest of ceramic skills with a modern and tasteful range of pottery art - ornamentation for the modern living room decorating style. The secret is about mixing post-modern simplicity of both design and product range (naive art?) with complex and ancient techniques. To us it is like the swan floating gracefully across the surface of the pond, whilst working furiously hard beneath the surface.
Her potting is a combination of many and varied skills, and she is very serious about the processes, many of which she has pioneered and is pioneering herself.
For example, her raku work involves first firing in an electric
kiln. After cooling and applying the raku glaze, she then fires again
in in a gas kiln, taking it out when still at 1000 degrees in order to
bake with sawdust. The resulting carbonated glaze is then washed away
leaving the characteristic crazed carbon markings - each one of which is
unique to every item and firing.
With the black and white dove piece shown above, the black half is applied by the traditional underglaze method, but then given the soft finish and sheen by using a wax process.
Maggie applies her tiny intricate feather decoration (for example on the blue bird shown above), with a very fine brush, each a single stroke of the brush. She has an incredible eye for detail and a skilled and patient hand.
Unlike the raku, sometimes Maggie finishes the semi-porcelain pieces with a secret decoration skill involving acrylics, metallic paints and finishes with special varnishes.
Although the birds are Davies' principle love, she has a unique and interesting take on many other ceramic artworks. For example, her raku mushrooms are sweet a pie and her pendants and amulets make stunning accents to the collection.