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Peacock Bowl Redux

I really liked the previous peacock bowl I made, but wanted a redo. Here’s the result!

Revisiting the Peacock Bowl

When I made the previous peacock bowl, I really liked the way the napkin decoupage looked over black paint, but couldn’t help wondering how it would look over white. And I wanted to refine the technique a bit, so I did it again.

You can see the step by step of how it was made on the previous post. This one was also made with air-dry clay, molded over the same half-sphere acrylic form, but I didn’t take it as far up the sides this time, so the bowl is shallower.

I used the same napkins for the decoupage, but painted the bowl white before adding the napkins, instead of black.

I used the same dot-painting + acrylic marker technique on the outside, and once again used the inner cardboard roll of a roll of tape to make the base.

Once again, I’m not super happy with the varnish, and don’t consider it “final” until I get better varnish.

What I Learned From the Second Peacock Bowl

To be honest, most of my learnings were on the first bowl, and this one is a refinement of those same methods. Here are my biggest takeaways:

  1. For this bowl, I corrected a stupid mistake I made with the prior one, and allowed it to dry COMPLETELY before I worked with it. With the previous bowl, I allowed it to dry completely before un-molding it, but then started working with it right away. I think the side of the clay that was against the mold wasn’t as dry as the outside, and, because I immediately started messing with it, it never got completely dry. Because of that, the black bowl has a bit of give to it, as though it’s locked in the leather-hard stage forever. That’s not necessarily a deal-breaker – it doesn’t feel unstable, and may be more able to withstand dropping or abuse. However, the white bowl is completely dry and completely rigid.
  2. I like this shallower shape – although the bowl is actually smaller, it feels like it holds more, because the flatter curve is more open.
  3. The napkin colors definitely pop more over a white background than a black one. On the black bowl, the additional paints were really necessary to enhance the colors. On the white bowl, the colors stood out more, and the additional decorating was more for fun than necessity.
  4. For the black bowl, I finished the edges with this gorgeous wrapping ribbon that I have. I love the iridescent quality of the colors but that kind of ribbon is hard to work with because it resists glue. That type of ribbon REALLY needs a good varnish to finish it and smooth it down. For the white bowl, I finished the edges with quilling paper, which accepts glue much more readily, so the lack of a good varnish isn’t as big a deal.

When I make something for the first time, there is almost always a point about halfway through where I wish I could start over knowing what I have learned, and correcting my mistakes before I begin. I almost never actually do that, because once I’ve done something I want to move on to different challenges, but I’m really glad I went ahead and made the second bowl.

While this white bowl was in progress (decoupaged but not painted), I was doing an online Skype session with some other Dutch students, and I briefly showed it to the camera when talking about side projects. I was incredibly flattered that everyone else on the Skype oooohed and aaaaahed most appreciatively. This bowl really looks great, and is actually useful, unlike almost everything else I make.

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