Following on from the Zen doodles I did as part of ‘Technique a week’ I’ve been thinking of producing some Zen doodle mugs, so I was contemplating having some mug wrap decals made when Chris from Held contacted me with the thought of selling the ‘Jilldoodle’ decals as part of his range.
Back to the drawing board and many hours later I had an A3 sheet of Zen doodles ready for Chris to make into decal sheets.
Chris worked his magic the decals arrived. I am really excited about this, the designs and lines are so fine I could never have produced penwork like this, also I have so many ideas for using these decals creatively.
Firstly jewellery, Chris has a new range of bone china jewellery blanks that I am desperate to try out and they are perfect for Jilldoodles.
I have a good tip to use when trying to decide what part of the decal to use on your china. Get some cardboard and draw around the shape, then cut out the inside to form a window in the card. This can be easily moved around until you decide which part you like, then just draw around the opening and cut it out.
Then soak the decal in warm water for 30 seconds or so until it softens and will easily slide off the backing paper, then slide it onto the ceramic piece.
Once dry the pieces were ready for firing to 780 Centigrade. I used a scalpel blade to trim off any excess decal, which would probably burn away, but I didn’t want to risk it getting somewhere I didn’t want it.
I want to use the Jilldoodles to produce personalised china so to do this I cut out areas where I would write names and sayings in the gaps.
I’ve a tip for putting the decal around the sides of a box, cut the strip longer than you need and then try it around the box, decide where you think the design join looks best, then cut following the design , not in a straight line, do the same with the other end. If you need to you can fill in areas with penwork to make the join less obvious.
Here are the finished boxes, complete with name and sayings.
The money box has strips of Jilldoodle, and black decal paper, but also leaving some white showing.
The mug and plate have shapes and borders cut out from the decal sheet, and a heart shape in the saucer indentation.
A tip from Chris:
“For curved surfaces warm the piece to body temperature, wet the surface with water, apply decal and gently sweep down, working outwards from the centre holding the decal in position with the free thumb. The decals are quite stretchy when working on a warm piece. The most difficult are large areas on a spherical Christmas bauble. I get them on as wrinkle free as possible round the edge and then leave for 10 minutes. This gives the glue time to start setting and when you sweep out the remaining wrinkles they don’t pop up again.”
Of course once you have the basic decal fired on you can choose to leave them as they are or use further embellishments.
My brain started running away with me and so ‘doodle doo’s’ were born, also ‘doodle moo’s and ‘doodle ewe’s’.
Following the same principle as before I made a cardboard template to choose the best designs, then cut them out. Then beaks, legs, heads, grass etc were penned on and then fired.
This is the doodle doo mug, the others in the menagerie will be added later, (I must have left the gate open and they have escaped!!!!!)
Here are the cabochons with further embellishment
Orange, peacock and lilac lustre. Peacock lustre. Blue mother of pearl over gold. Cadmium red china paint.
My mind is in a whirl now I have so many ides for using these decals, they could be painted over to look like patchwork, they could be combined with hand painted work, I think bright pink baby roses, or Dresden style floral sprigs would be a great contrast in styles, some areas could have flow enamel if a ‘fence’ is penned over first………. even dots of enamels in bright colours……………..
I hope gold and platinum decals will follow soon!
Also I had to try them with glass, here are my test pieces.
The first one is sandwiched between glass, it has a lot of tiny bubbles and looks grey, but I like the lacy effect, even though it’s not what I might be looking for now it has potential. The second one is the decal on top of the glass but then I turned it over to fire it. The last one I put the decal over a coaster and fired it.
I have tried them out on Bullseye glass but I need to play around with temperatures to get it just right.
Even the scraps of decal paper aren’t wasted, I cut out small shapes like hearts using a craft punch.
Playing around with decals jogged my memory as may years ago I saw an exhibition of student degree work from the university at Stoke on Trent, it really opened my eyes to the possibilities of using decals creatively, until then I thought using decals was cheating, but they are simply another tool to be used for decorating ceramics and glass, it’s up to us to think creatively and use them in exciting ways. I hope to see what you can come up with soon.
Decals available from Chris at Held
I thought you might like to see how Chris has used Jilldoodles, he has made these mugs for someone who is going travelling.
I don’t have time to post much just now but I have some great ideas for using the zendoodle decals which I will be posting eventually. I also need to add ‘everyday doodle’ china to my web store, the mugs are proving very popular with all who have seen them.
I wonder what everyone will come up with when I do the workshop!!!
I’ve heard from a few people who are enjoying using Jilldoodles, one lady who wished to remain anonymous sent me some pictures of a work in progress, I hope it gives you some ideas. She is going to add some platinum details to finish him off.