My Lambeth bowl is inspired by examples of Doulton Lambeth stoneware from the late 19th and early 20th Century. Using the medium of felt, I have experimented with techniques of incising and applying pattern which are typical of this work. In my own work, the bowl itself is constructed from four layers of different coloured felt, with the pattern on the inside created by incising these layers with a scalpel to reveal the colours beneath. The palette of natural shades, browns and blues is typical of Doulton Lambeth ware, while the design itself reflects the swirling organic patterns so favoured by the Lambeth potters.
The incised pattern is then lined by black straw couched with black silk to add definition and the effect of shadow. White machine embroidery and French knots are used to reflect the white slip dots used so strikingly in the original pottery. The outside of the bowl experiments with applied decoration, using blue raffia in an open chain stitch to fill in areas of the design. The texture and shine of the raffia imitates the enamelled painting effect in the Frank Butler jug. Finally, the bowl has been placed on a foot constrcted from layers of wooden rings wound with raffia. This reflects the attention paid by Doulton Lambeth designers to the structure of each piece and the building of solid bases, handles and rims.
For me, Doulton Lambeth pottery is both sturdy and striking, functional and imaginative, practical and very beautiful. These are the characteristics which I have tried to capture in my own piece.
Frank A. Butler
Stoneware with incised and applied decoration painted with enamels
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