Medal ideas – Blue Flower pattern

As I am looking at using the combination of bronze and ceramic in my medals, it seems fitting to investigate using the traditional imagery of blue flower print as a form of narrative. It has been suggested to me that I incorporate my drawing skills into my work with the medals this year, something which I have largely avoided up until this point and have kept the drawings purely in the form of sketchbook work as a means of planning ideas. Because of this I feel it is very likely that my medals will be illustrated in some form, and the combination of ceramic and bronze offers a good platform in which to do so, with the ceramic surface being prime for painting upon and exploring fine brush work.

While I certainly have an appreciation of ceramics, I have never done a huge amount of research into the area, and when I have it has been geared mostly towards individual artists, most of whom create sculptural work. However despite this, when thinking about illustrated ceramics the first image that comes to mind is the classic imagery of blue and white flower patterns on tableware, such as plates.

blue and white plates

An example of blue and white flower pattern on plates, sold here

blue and white flower pattern

classic pattern on fabric, sold here

With this in mind, I did a water colour sketch of a flower pattern, which I translated into blue and white, as a visual reference for myself.

flower pattern


In terms of imagery, I feel that flower pattern could be promising. One matter which I am certain of in my medal design which I am aspiring to, is that I do not want the imagery to be literal. The subject matter which I am trying to depict are the various different stages, states of being, elements of personality and experience that are formed throughout life. These are often formed gradually, changing from one state to another, reverting to earlier stages, mirroring and reflecting back and forth in an ever changing development. Because of this, I want my imagery to be something which is changeable and can transition and change across the medal or series of medals. I would like these images to be able to be interchanged in order to create different images or narratives (as discussed briefly in an earlier post) but carry a running theme or image throughout as a narrative carrier. However, in order to do this transitioning imagery I feel that the subject has to be something relatively ambiguous and fluid, with various different states of being which can be naturally interchanged.

In these terms, flowers could potentially work well. They have a range of states which can be used as an analogy for states of well-being in a person; budding, closed, flowering, blooming, wilting, etc which quite intuitively can be related to emotional states such as fragility, confidence, strength, personal growth, triumph and loss. Not only this but there is already a large wealth of history of flowers being used as symbols in art to represent a variety of subject matter. This combined with the tradition of blue and white flower print in ceramics could be an interesting avenue to explore, taking traditional decorative imagery and applying a deeper level of meaning and symbolism in order to change its function from decoration to narrative. I can also see the pattern transitioning well, having blooming and wilting flowers next to each other in a sequence that can be arranged in any sequence while still looking seamless and fluid.


One Comment on “Medal ideas – Blue Flower pattern”

  1. […] been having a lot of trouble when it comes to what imagery to use on my medals. I have previously thought about using flowers, reflecting the common use of flower print in ceramic blue and white ware. However since deciding […]

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