I spent my early childhood growing up in Manchester, New Hampshire and then moved to Lubbock, Texas where I remained for 20 years. I earned my MFA with concentrations in Ceramics and Metalsmithing/Jewelry from Texas Tech University in 2015. Currently, I am living in Plano, Texas where I work at Collin College as the Ceramics Lab Coordinator.
I enjoy using lace in my work because it can be found embellishing everything from tablecloths to underwear. It can be innocent, seductive, outrageous, delicate, timeless and trendy. It appears on babies, brides, entertainers and grandmothers. The incorporation of lace allows me to simultaneously represent a variety of associations.
I have only recently began using plaid in my work. It started as a suggestion from a friend and I ran with it. The more I research it, the more I enjoy using it much for the same reason I use lace. Its broad spectrum of use and associations from historic family tartans, to the lumberjack, to the school girl leave so much room for interpretation
I use Laguna Dark Brown boxed clay. I start out with a simple slab built cylinder. I slip and score the seam and use the overlap as part of my design instead of smoothing it out.
When the cylinder is formed I use it as a template to cut out a rough circle for the bottom.
Thick slip is painted over lace on the slab that is going to be the inside bottom of the mug.
When the slip is no longer tacky, I peel away the lace.
The bottom of the cylinder is slipped and scored and carefully attached to the bottom.
The excess slip around the edges is wiped away and the remaining clay is pushed up against the cylinder creating a lip around the bottom. The basic cylinder shape is gently formed into a softer edged form.
I use a rubber tipped tool to divide the surface into an area that will have lace added to it. The area without the lace is pushed out slightly more from the inside.
Again, thick slip is painted over lace and allowed to sit until it is no longer tacky.
The lace is peeled away and any excess slip is wiped away with a rubber tipped tool. I use a drill bit to remove clay so that the stitches are recessed into the clay and not just sitting on top.
Small coils are rolled out and pressed into the holes to create the stitches.
When the clay dry, I sketch out a (very) rough plaid pattern.
Three coats of underglaze are applied, then it is bisque fired to cone 08.
After bisque firing, a clear or celadon glaze is applied on the interior. The lace and stitches are waxed and a clear glaze is applied over the outside. I then fire to cone 10 in reduction.
My plaid cups are still in their early stages of experimentation and development, but I am excited to see what they grow into from here. You can find me and my work on Instagram @toberninejilly or on my website at www.jilliancooper.com
Stop by Main Street Arts to see the mug shown above by Jillian Cooper in our current exhibition “The Cup, The Mug: A National Juried Exhibition of Drinking Vessels” (juried by ceramic artist Peter Pincus, exhibition runs through January 6th).