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  • Writer's pictureKate Hopkins-Searle

Ceramic Decals

This has been a day for working at the PC creating the images that will get printed in enamels for my ceramic decals.

The initial drawings for Marie Antoinette II shoes by Kate Hopkins-Searle
Pages from Kate Hopkins-Searle's sketchbook

These pages in my sketchbook show my designs for Marie Antoinette II. The fashion plate of the dress, from Galerie des modes et costumes français, has an image of a bat repeated around the lower part of the skirt. I've taken this & designed a decal that will go on the toe of the shoe. Initially it was black & white, but this looked too harsh against the creamy yellow & burgundy colours of the shoe.

The bat on its own didn't look quite right, so I worked out a flower shape for it to 'sit' on to make the whole design look complete.

I print the decals & cut them out so that I can place them on the shoes to check for size & colour. Then it's a case of working in PhotoPlus (similar to PhotoShop) to make up an A3 sheet of these decals. It often seems a bit wasteful to make up a sheet of this size when I only really need small decals for 3 of the 5 pairs of shoes that are almost finished, but I know it'll probably be another year before I need more, & I'd love to see these finished. I double up on the designs I need printed - sometimes the decal doesn't make full contact with the glaze so when the shoes are fired the enamel of the decal lifts rather than melts into the surface. In this situation I then have to reapply all or part of the decal & re-fire the piece.

Showing the ceramic decals being designed prior to printing
Screen shot of PhotoPlus

Once I've made up a sheet of decals I can email it to to have them printed in enamels. In the 'old days' it was a much more complicated process to get these done as they'd have to be screen printed with a different screen for each colour - It was very expensive. Now they can put them through a machine like a photocopier - the amazing wonders of technology - I love it.

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