While mounting the plate for shelf display, I held both the wax and plate at exactly the best angle to create this photogenic crack. Dammit!

platecracked01

platecracked02

The break goes through the plate completely, but the thick layer of seal on the front of the plate is still intact. And thus the value of testing is demonstrated.

The first staining test went well; I had not anticipated the amount of dust that got kicked up, but it was easy enough to blow it off the work surface. I used a sanguine conte crayon to lay down the color, then brushed on a PVA-based sealer.

The dry, clean plate:

plate04

Just the crayon pigment:

plate05

After the seal dried (NB: this is labeled as a matte seal):

plate07

The main problem I have with this technique is the poor contrast between the inscribed letters and the flat surface.  I have a few other ideas for laying down the pigment, as well as inlaying some sort of color into the letters, to try out. We shall see.

I inscribed the first test using a white terra cotta clay and an large (for an awl) blunt awl. Laying one side of a ziploc bag down over the clay to manage the stuff dredged up made me feel clever.  Here is the plate in its current state:

plate01

Here we see the plate and accoutrements:

plate03

Detail; note the texture in the inscribed areas:

plate02

The plate will have a day to dry; then the glaze!

One idea I wanted to explore was inscribing the text onto plates which would be mounted on the paper where I’d placed the illustrations. This is the thumbnail test plate, before baking, with a club I fashioned from the polymer clay scraps.

plate and club before

The plate after baking and staining. This is a good idea, but I’m not sure polymer clay is the correct media. I’m going to try out terra cotta next; I have higher hopes for that.

plate after unmounted

Mounted.The inked lino plate underneath the clay plate is something I cut to print backgrounds: I really like the effect here and am thinking how to incorporate it into the final work. Also, illustrations of the story will surround the center text in the final work.

plate after mounted

Detail of above plates

plate after mounted detail

The club, stained. I like it!

club after

And a small part of the bigger picture: the desk in its usual state.

desk03