As a new challenge, I have been making quite a few platters and trays recently. They are truly much harder than they look. In addition to the false flat bottom, it is quite difficult to create a nice flowing curve with no kinks to bumps. I am yet to make any masterpieces, but I am finally starting to get a feel for the transition between the sharp curve near the rim and the long, gentle curve towards the center point.
At the same time, I can understand why they are so common in Japan. The cultural aspects aside, they finish absolutely gorgeously with lacquer. A well cut curve finished to a high gloss pulls me in with its depth. I still have a long way to go, but this is one form I definitely want to master!
Now that it is getting colder, I am able to make more time for finishing. One of my newest attempts is to use abalone shell flakes to create a geometric pattern. I like using shell in my work because it offers wonderful depth and a vary wide range of colors.
Using shell to create an image has been in the back of my mind for a while, but I have been hesitant to try because I imaged it to be very difficult. However, it was simpler than I could ever have imaged. There were some places where I applied too much lacquer when adhering the shell, resulting in the shell drifting out of place as the lacquer dripped. There are still much room for improvement, but it has been a good start. I look forward to trying other patterns soon and maybe actual illustrations someday. Before that, though, I want to make my own crushed shell.