Carefully made ceramic plate with sprigs and slip.

When the going gets tough the tough make a plate.

After the show at NUCA last week of twelve of my plates I have been working on the next set. This one has come together over the past couple of days and deploys my fruit gum sprig moulds. I have had the idea floating about in my head for a while to use these moulds to make a border but I hadn’t got so far as to imagine the central image. I worked on the robot figures and the fruit gums last night after school and I put down a layer of black slip and left it to gently dry over night. This morning I put on two layers of white slip and started to draw an image based on a sketchbook drawing, engraving into the damp slip.

I elaborated the simple sketch into something much more complex during the course of the day, working on it during lunchtime and whilst the year sevens were quietly getting on.

At the end of the day a lad came over and started to watch me at work on the plate as I was finishing off the border area. ‘Just watching’ he said. Which was fine. After a while a couple of girls came over and I had a little crowd gather.

‘Who is it supposed to be?’ asked the lad.

‘It’s Mr Cope. You can tell.’ said a girl.

‘But he hasn’t got a beard.’

‘It’s him when he was younger.’ she said.

‘What’s that rectangle round him?’

‘He’s looking into a mirror and seeing himself as he was when he was younger, isn’t he? And the sweets and the toys are because it’s about when he was young.’ explains the girl. I am obviously very pleased about this exchange as one pupil explains my work to another.

The drawing is based on a recollection of a drawing I was always sentimentally attached to. It was a self portrait in a vest that I drew when I was about fourteen. It was the first thing I remember doing when the drawing looked back at me with a certain amount of style and the start of the Cope line. It was expressive, as I remember and the first drawing that I did that was.

I lost it of course. God knows where it went. Out with my Action Man and Lego bricks I should think. But my question here is have I lost it? When I can recreate a memory of it on a plate. Can you lose anything that is in your head?

Even if you want to.

An interesting day.