Monday 9 July 2018
Liz and I have been collaborating on painted platters since 1989 and many pieces have been sent out to galleries and private clients over the past 23 years. We have made quite a few different series over the years, but the textured platters are reasonably new. When planning the design of your platter you need to consider the area to be painted.
A wide, flat rim works well. We find 75mm gives you a good working area for this design.
The second consideration is how you are going to finish the painted edge, and more importantly, how you can clean up that edge when you finish painting. Liz uses masking tape for a lot of her painted edges. Unfortunately it doesn't work well for this technique. The best option is a sharp edge on both the inside and outside edge of the rim. That way you can easily rub the abrasive paper at right angles to the paint work. This cleans up the timber without damaging the paint work.
If you are going to decorate it yourself then just consider the options, but you need to talk to your collaborator to ask what they want if you intend sharing the experience.
When turning platters for painting, I need to make the spigot to suit a range of jaws that I have on various chucks; this way, after the painting is finished, the platter can be re-chucked to sand the edges where the paint meets the inner and outer edges. I prefer to hold the spigots with the scroll chuck in contraction mode rather than expansion mode making the spigots about one-third of the platter diameter and about 4.5mm deep.
Start by drilling a hole in the top to suit your scroll chuck jaws. In expansion mode is one way to hold the top side of the blank while turning the bottom of the platter. This a good method to use when you have a number of platters to turn as it saves time
Using a deep fluted gouge, turn the bottom of the platter, cutting from the base towards the rim using the bottom half of the gouge with the flute pointing to 10 o'clock. This way you will be cutting with the grain. The intersection point where the top rim meets the bottom curve should be about two-thirds up from the bottom
Use a point tool or a round skew chisel to cut the base spigot to suit the scroll chuck that you intend to use to hold the spigot while turning the top
Using the trimmer – a smaller deep fluted gouge with the square grind at the front – make a trim cut. I point the flute up to 12 o'clock using the leading vertical edge of the flute. You should only need to take a fine cut of about 1.5mm
Sand the bottom surface clean and smooth to 320 or 400 grit. As the foot is cut to the same diameter of the true size of the chuck jaws, no marks should be left when the jaws grip the spigot. Place the spigot in the chuck ready for turning the top of the platter
Using the same method as you used to turn the bottom, turn the rim sloping down to the intersection point with the bottom curve. You should be cutting downhill from the middle of the platter to the outside of the rim
I like to place a pencil mark where I want the inside of the rim so you know where the inside bowl intersection is. To remove the waste on the inside, turn the gouge over so that the flute is pointing to 2 o'clock and cut towards the centre of the platter. Take lighter cuts near the middle so you do not over shoot the mid-point. As this is a heavy based platter, you should be looking to leave a bottom thickness of about 12mm. If you are cutting with the bottom half of the gouge you will have no worries about catching the top side of the gouge
Using the trimming gouge, take a light shear cut with the flute pointing up to 12 o'clock, using the leading cutting edge. You will have a vertical cutting edge which will result in a polished cut surface. Use a power sander to sand the rim and inner surfaces. After a trim cut you will probably only need to start with 240 grit abrasive. I then finish with 320 and 400 grit abrasive. You are now left with the top and underside of the bowl finished with a spigot that allows for re-chucking after painting
The finished top of the platter ready to hand over to the decorator
Texture paste is one of the best products I have ever discovered. When combined with paint it opens up a world of opportunities. Mix your texture paste with acrylic paint. I chose Jo Sonja's Pthalo Blue and Green. Mix the colours through the paste
Using the palette knife, apply the texture paste to the rim of your platter. It doesn't need to be very thick to create a visible texture – about 6mm thick. Apply as if icing a cake. When complete, wipe the inside and outside edge with a clean cloth to remove any excess product from the inside of the bowl and the underside of the platter
There are many ways that you can create additional texture while the surface is still wet; any of these would work well on its own or as I have done in combination. Play around and create your own textures. Press the palette knife into the surface and swish from side to side
Use a Bamboo skewer to press into the surface to create lines
Many interesting effects can be achieved using a variety of stencils. These are available in craft stores. They can be pressed into the surface or additional paste can be added with the palette over the stencil. A bamboo skewer is also a great tool for adding dots and marks
Allow the finished design to dry before you continue. This may take up to 24 hours. It will depend on the weather. The long drying time is also an advantage. If you are not happy with the design there is plenty of time to run the palette knife over the surface and redo the design
When the paste is dry, paint a background coat over the surface with the dark colours you used originally. I usually use 3-4 colours or shades to give an interesting mottled effect. I added Cobalt blue and Dioxazine Purple
For the next coat choose paints that contrast with the dark background. A lighter colour or metallic acrylic paints work well. I have used Lumiere paints by Jacquard. Metallic Bronze, Pearl Violet, Halo Blue Gold and Halo Violet Gold. Dry brush the surface using a 12mm flat firm brush. When extra dry, lay the brush almost on its side. This technique allows you to just hit the high spots of the texture leaving the background in the darker flat colours to show through
Using the same technique, keep working around the platter building up layers of metallic paint
When you are happy with your painting and it has dried sufficiently, lightly sand around the inside edge of the bowl and the outside underneath edge to remove any spilt paint. This will clean up paint edges. If you sand too deep and reveal the first lighter layer of the paste it can be touched up with a small round brush and some of the matching coloured paint. After the painting is finished, Neil takes the platter back to the workshop, sands the edges and applies four coats of Livos Kunos, which is a natural oil finish
The textured wide rim platter is now complete