Four February Raiders

In the middle of February four more Raiders came out here. We were getting short of time to paint and fire a group of coupes/plates for the annual donation to the Western Front Gala Auction (which takes place this coming Saturday). Mina Totino, Philippe Raphanel, Cindy Richmond and Marlene Madison were available for the effort this year.


We haven’t seen Philippe Raphanel for some months as he had a full schedule teaching at ECU in the Fall, so he jumped right in with his usual enthusiasm to make up for lost time. He was well-prepared with some layered and resisted colourful images to work from and in no time had completed two coupes and two large platters.




He applies subtle base colours and then big strokes of darker mixed greys and black with his customized house painting brush. On top of that he paints my water-based wax resist and finishes with a final coat of runny underglaze over all. I’ve learnt to give the pieces a thorough brushing and washing after the bisque firing to remove loose material which will have remained over the wax. The effect after glazing is unexpected and rather striking. This second coupe will be in the set of five.





I made a point of getting the coupes fired first so there are still seven more, larger pieces in the second glaze firing that is finishing just now.



Cindy painted two coupes so that, like Philippe, she can choose between two for her donation, and a large platter. Experts would probably call her work minimalist, I think they’re quiet. The yellow/green one will be in the group of five.



Cindy’s platter

Marlene got busy painting two coupes and two large platters, first applying colour to the underside. Now that the  artists are wanting glaze all over the backs it is a nice option. Marlene painted a spiral design on a plate, similar to an earlier one but then opted to take the other three home to concentrate on alone. That’s why she was out here last week – to get them into my latest firings but also to take the coupes to the Western Front.


Eric has just emailed to say that the five have been installed in the Luxe Hall at Western Front and look splendid. Preview starts on Wednesday.



For her coupe Mina has been inspired by a large platter she found in Edmund de Waal’s The Pot Book. Somewhat like Mina’s painterly work, Thorvald Bindesbøll’s platter features luscious green and black shapes, the black applied over his carving into the platter’s surface. Below is some information on the artist. I must say that de Waal’s selections of ceramics from cultures and times all around the world are eclectic, surprising and inspiring. It’s the perfect browsing book. I’m so enjoying the copy you gave me Mina.




Mina also painted another of her favourite square plates, this time with yummy dark blue, and ?cherry-blossoms. Her other platter is in the now-finished firing.

While they worked and chatted I continued painting a new square plate form. To make it easier to fabricate this shape, rather than use the awkward old electric frying-pan I made a clay form and bisqued it. More about that in my next blog.

Thorvald Bindesboll platter


  1. Clay Blog Review: February 2017 - Pottery Making Info - March 4th, 2017

    […] Gillian McMillan — Rara Avis: Four February Raiders […]

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