I’ve been on the look out for a new ceramic watercolour mixing palette, appropriately sized and shaped for my workspace, so I looked on Etsy and loved the handcrafted palettes I saw there. There are such clever people out there. Unfortunately all the ones I liked shipped from overseas. The postage service is understandably overwhelmed these days, which means I don’t have a great deal of confidence in delivery times, much less items actually making it to Australia – shipping within Australia has been problematic recently too, and with the silly season upon us, I decided not to chance it. So I watched a couple of tutorials, bought some air dry clay, paint and varnish and had a go at making some custom palettes myself. I really enjoyed the process and the results aren’t awful. The one with paint is my first attempt. The other two have their first coats of white acrylic paint. It took the larger one the better part of a week to dry completely, because the east coast of Australia has been experiencing unseasonably overcast and rainy days. So I sculpted and waited, sanded and painted. Waited and painted and waited again until I was finally able to put the first coat of varnish on. It’s taken four days to paint one palette with multiple coats of acrylic paint and gloss varnish. In the end I like the result, even if they do look a little inelegant. They’re bespoke and they work. I even had a go at imprinting some sacrificial fern leaves in to left over clay for decorations (one is pictured in image above).
It’s good to learn new things. I’m happy to discover, it’s also an excellent way to instil some new impetus in your creative enterprise. My draft table is covered in tools and debris from my manufacturing, but I couldn’t be happier.
I had some creative downtimes this year, which I admittedly did worry over at times. I’m pleased to report that I am now finally feeling refreshed, motivated and adventurous again. Sometimes we need to look beyond the familiar, try something new, explore new ways to make in order to reawaken our creative power. I guess it’s possible to bore the creative self with artistic reruns and I think that’s what happened for me.
The palettes I made aren’t great works; they’re not going to make me any money, or even improve my paintings, but they were the jumper leads my creative engine needed right now. Very often it’s the act of creating itself which powers the internal creativity generator. This was a good project to rewet my appetite for crafting. I suspect I’ll make quite a few more palettes.