Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Inspirations from Terra Cotta


Terracotta, plain tile and other uni-coloured sea pottery can seem a little mundane in comparison to a perfectly frosted piece of seaglass or a specimen of beach-worn Willow, for example. Yet somewhere in the recess of my imagination I've always known that the simpler and more ordinary pieces of slate and pottery have exciting potential. 
Irish Sea Pottery Pendant. Brown Beach Pottery Necklace. Tea by the Sea
brown sea pottery pendant
The prettier sea treasures are usually a challenge to wire wrap. You have to use as little wire as possible, especially on the front, in order to show off their beauty to its best. Yet, you still have to cage the piece securely so it wont fall out. And of course, it's important to keep your wire work aesthetically appealing at the same time. The secrets to this type of wire wrapping are not so easy to unlock.
I tend to go for the more exciting and sell-able baubles first, leaving the plainer pieces aside. Yet deep down I've always known that the simple sea pottery shards can turn out to be far more fun to wrap. They are blank canvases -  a backdrop for the wire itself. Often, the challenge is to get the pottery and the wire to share the limelight in just the right balance so that they enhance each other. 
I had some vague design ideas running around my head but hadn't felt very motivated to bring them to life until a trip to the National Botanic Gardens, of all places. Here in a glass house I came across some inspiring artwork made from terracotta pots.
terracotta pot sculpture by unknown artist
Celtic spirals feature heavily in my jewellery and ornament designs. So naturally, I was drawn to this clever Celtic artwork. I'm afraid I didn't catch the name of the creator of this simple but very effective garden sculpture. If anyone can provide the name, please do post it in comments below.

Initially, I thought to take inspiration from the sculpture a bit too literally. I considered creating a triple spiral using both solid copper and silver plate wire and wrapping it onto a plain piece of terracotta sea pottery. I've done something similar in the past with gemstone slabs. 
Copper & Sea Pottery Pendant from Ireland. Biscuit Beach Pottery. Celtic Tides
Copper-wrapped Sea Pottery pendant
 However, rummaging through my stash, I was drawn to this biscuit and white tile shard but felt it would be swamped by such a design. It called for a simpler look that would balance the proportions right and bring out the understated beauty of the shard.

Copper & Sea Pottery Pendant from Ireland. Biscuit Beach Pottery. Celtic Tides 
I'm pleased with the result. The warm copper comes into its own against the soft beige and creamy white background. There is no need to contrast with cold silver. With time the metal will naturally oxidise and darken, developing into a new phase of beauty. 
 Copper & Sea Pottery Pendant from Ireland. Biscuit Beach Pottery. Celtic Tides
My Etsy friend Mo of HuggleKnits had accompanied me to the Botanic Gardens that day. It so happens that she was handing over some cotton crochet chains I'd commissioned her to make. This russet brown one complements the pendant to perfection.


  1. what a lovely pendant! I've always liked the plainer pieces of sea pottery, specially if they're nicely shaped

    1. thanks. Each shard has its own beauty, doesn't it? Sometimes it takes a little coaxing out from us, that's all.

  2. Wonderful, I love terra cotta and copper, so doubly pleasing, thank you for posting this, I so enjoy your blog :-)

  3. Beautiful pendant Anne-Marie, love the combo of 2 tone eggshell colour of the pottery piece and the warmth of copper wire. And Mo's chain is perfect match with them! :)