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Behind the Scenes - "Bumps" Along the Way to Designing our Sea Urchin Plate (more than 1,750 of them!)

We've been dreaming of a Sea Urchin Plate for about a year or so.   Jan and I thought it would go so well with our Seahorse and Sea Urchin Teacups, our Seahorse Napkin Rings, and coordinate with our Wave Dinner Plate along with many of our other designs.   Truly a new design that would "Make Your Table Dance"!

So why did it take so long between dreaming it and doing it?  Because the answer to "How to get an impression of the Sea Urchin's spiny bumps transferred to the Plate's surface?" was far more complicated than it sounds!

Two Big Challenges in the Sea Urchin Plate Design Process

The first complication: if we splayed out the sea urchin specimen like an orange peel onto a plate form ("somehow" by dissecting the specimen, flattening it out, and filling the gaps  . . . ) the spiny "bumps" on the Sea Urchin would become "dumps" on the Plate when it came time to make a casting off of Creation's artwork.  

This is a recurring problem with 'positive' and 'negative' sculptures and takes a bit of creativity to work through it.   In other words, if we took a direct casting off the Sea Urchin ("somehow") the raised sea urchin spiny bumps would become low shallow pits and dumps in the Plate, collecting glaze in little pools and come out looking like a spotted flat mess! 

 

The second complication:  if we took a flexible rubber or silicon casting off the Sea Urchin, perhaps we could stretch and flatten it more easily, and then from that secondary interim image "somehow" we could then turn the 'positive' into a 'negative' and create proper spiny bumps on the Plate's surface.  But flexing that thin casting into the proper shape proved physically impossible without severe warping and distortion of the beautiful bumps and subtle lines found in the natural specimen.

These two significant complications caused us to step back, reconsider, and revise our design strategy (after months of wrangling with each of these two dead-ends with attempt after attempt!).  

 

Our Solution to Designing the Sea Urchin Plate!

And so, with a magnifying glass, ruler, compass, and a precision wrapped in artistry we drew out the major axial impressions of the Sea Urchin's subtle wavy lines along with the linear progression of spiny bumps (major and minor sizes) and proceeded to hand sculpt each and every one of the approximate 750 major spiny bumps as well as each of the more than 1,000 minor spiny bumps.   Now let me tell you . . . that's a LOT of sculpting!  And do it all without a mechanical stiffness, but rather, with fluid beauty and subtle variation expressed faithfully in the original Sea Urchin specimen.  We think that's Artistry and hope you agree!

 

Now that the Sea Urchin Plate is Designed, how are we going to Hand-Craft them?

Now that our sculpture of the Sea Urchin Plate is completed, we've been creating some new production techniques to faithfully reproduce each and every spiny Sea Urchin bump that we worked so hard to create!  

And that's where we are today.  

Our existing production tools and techniques and processes are not capable of efficiently capturing the intricate beauty of the smaller spiny bumps in larger flat pieces like this Plate.  So we have to create some new tools and new processes!  Our existing processes do indeed work great in smaller pieces or smaller surfaces like our Teacup and Bowls, for example.  

So in our next posting, again exclusive to our e-community, we will share more behind-the-scenes images and descriptions (and maybe a video?) of how we are going to create and offer Sea Urchin Plates to everyone.  All the while, ensuring that each one of the Sea Urchin Plates faithfully captures every one of the intricate details that Creation offers in the beauty and splendor of this marvelous creature, the Sea Urchin!  

And soon, once these new Sea Urchin Plates are hand-crafted in our studio and made available to you, you'll have a bit of a behind-the-scenes story to tell your family, friends, and associates when you serve your own very special hand-crafted lunch, dinner, or hors d'oeuvre Creations!  

And of course, as a member of our e-community you will get an exclusive time sensitive "First Firing" Coupon Offer when the first plates are pulled out of the kiln and ready to ship!  Look for this coupon in our next posting when we show the finished Sea Urchin Plates in all their glory.

We invite you to take 20% off any order over $100** as you shop our other Sea Urchin, Seahorse, Starfish and Clam Shell designs, as well as share this post with those you think would appreciate it, and encourage them to join our community by signing up for our Studio updates.

** expires in 10 days on February 28th at 5:00 pm.  Use Coupon Code "20PCT100"

Bon appetit!