How Emilie Created The Spuntino Trilogy Trays

The Spuntino Trilogy Trays by Emilie Parker

On the day that I made the Spuntino trays I had been working on another sculpture from thick slabs of red clay.  I was feeling satisfied and peaceful and the luscious thick slabs of moist clay sitting on my work table were drawing me in.  The deep terra cotta color of the slabs brought out by the red iron oxide of that particular clay was striking. I cut into the slab and brought out three mounds of clay in the shapes of an oval, a triangle and a trapezoid.

I looked at these 3 shapes quietly for a good while and they seemed to complement each other.  Then it occurred to me that they would be perfect if shaped into three sweet small trays.  I found just the right mold in our workshop and stacked them into it, refining the design to follow the geometric shapes of each, smoothing the edges slightly.  I delicately incised a leaf motif onto the triangular shaped tray that added a touch of nature.

Next the three trays were stacked on the mold one on top of the other with a soft cloth barrier between each tray.  I wanted each tray to slightly take on the shape of the tray below.  After wrapping the trays in plastic they sat for a long drying period.  I let them dry slowly for about a month checking on them every few days to make sure they were drying slowly and evenly and adjusting the plastic and smoothing the edges. 

The trays were fired in a kiln load reaching more than 1800 degrees Fahrenheit and then sat for a long time on my studio shelf waiting for inspiration on how to glaze them.  Then one day I just knew what they wanted.  I spread a black copper oxide stain onto each and then washed almost all of it off giving a hint of black detail to the impression, fissures and the leaf motifs.  Next the gloss white and salt + pepper glazes were applied bringing out the dark redness of the iron in the red clay.  After firing the white became cloudy and transparent with black copper oxide details that were a delightful surprise.

I like to imagine someone serving a medley of epicurean delicacies on the Spuntino Trilogy trays pared with a good cup of tea or aged wine and mingled with sweet conversation.


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