Saturday, December 10, 2011

Step by Step

I wish I would have stopped here but I didn't; I added more to the tree. I like how the tree grows up and over the sides and up the roof interior.

First I built an enclosure for the shrine. This piece is about 10.5 high by 5.5 wide  in inches; at the edge of the roof it's 8.5 wide. The sides are 2.5 inches deep, the roof is 4 inches at the center and curves slightly narrower at the edge, and the base is 3 inches deep curving narrower to meet the sides. After I made the piece I let it firm up some and dry over night.

The next morning I brushed three coats of blue and green stained slip on the panels. I usually brush the slip before I assemble the piece but this time I did the reverse. I found out it's much easier to put the slip on before assembly. When it's assembled I have to be really careful not to knock my hand or fingers against any of the sides while I'm brushing on the colored slip. I use a small brush (an acrylic size) because the slip dries quickly; I need to keep dipping into the slip so I can apply wet coats to the surface.

After the background colors dried, I brushed in the tree and branches. Then I layered more colors of slip for the tree, bark, leaves, and grass. See this is what I mean, I think the barren tree in the first photo was more dramatic than this later one. But I can always make another one. In fact I plan to make several more of these. The tree now looks about like the sweetgum, Liquidamber styraciflua, outside my studio window; still holding on to some of it's leaves.

Trees by Alfred Joyce Kilmer
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree. 

I added roots of the tree under the bottom. I also added one yellow star on top of the roof. I have a few ideas of a sculptural piece to add beside the tree inside the shrine. This post is part of Artists in Blogland Saturday share. Comments and suggestions are most welcome.


  1. sweet Linda- I love trees and this is so nice!

  2. I like the early version too...less is more. The root system on the bottom is terrific!

  3. I'd love to have something on this order for the alcove which was formerly an old telephone stand. It now contains a candle, some incense and a small religious picture.

  4. Oh ~ this such a delightful creation ~ Love how you did the 'roots' of the tree ~ too ~~ thanks, namaste, Carol (A Creative Harbor) Happy AIBL ^_^

  5. A beautiful piece and beautifully painted!

  6. Love the shrine. I'm thinking it would make a fab casserole.
    I really think you should make a video of your technique. I'd love to here you talk about it.

  7. I love this, but I do prefer the top one with bare branches. I like the roots, though. I wonder about one with a slightly darker background and a slice of moon or a full moon through the trees

    A very creative idea you've developed here! I Love it!

  8. Great shrine Linda, The roots on the bottom are the best. I really like how you wrapped the image all round the piece. xox Corrine

  9. really like the roots underneath... it's like a surprise on the bottom!

  10. Beautiful Shrine, I just love trees!

  11. A beautiful shrine to a tree in nature. thanks for sharing.

  12. taking photos of the different stages is a great idea. You can easily compare the bare tree with the leafed tree and decide what variation to make next time. I'd like to see the fired piece...

  13. Hi Black Pumpkin, thanks so much.

    Hi Meredith, thanks, I too love trees, always have, such symbols of strength.

    Hi Smartcat, thanks, yes less is more I was thinking the same thing when I looked at the photos.

    Hi Kate, thanks, what size is your alcove, can you take a photo and post or send to me; more coming along too.

  14. Hi Carol, thanks, yes adding the roots struck me, they look a little odd, but that's actually what they look like if a tree is uprooted with the roots attached, a big jumbled mess.

    Hi Jane, thanks so much, we'll see after the firing.

    Hi Cazz, thanks, not sure about those square edges for a casserole. One of these days I'll make a video.

    Hi Teresa, thanks, I'll be making more; just finished one, but didn't add the moon, perhaps with the next one after that.

    Hi Corrine, thanks, I need to get a thinner paint brush for wrapping those branches, it's hard to control the width of the brush stroke with the one I have.

    Hi Michele, thanks, I tell myself to add those surprises, but I don't often remember when I do I sometimes surprise myself. Ha.

    Hi Denni, thanks, yes I love trees, so lucky to have a couple right outside my window.

  15. Hi Donna, thanks, trees are something to be revered for sure.

    Hi Anna, thanks, I am always so glad when I take photos along the way, it is really a great reference and then I try to keep them till after the piece is fired. Perhaps I'll do a post of the pre and post fired piece to show the differences in slip colors, sometimes or many times it's totally different especially with the darker colors.


I love suggestions, questions, critiques, thanks for your comment