I design & make a range of ceramic plaques creating an attractive focal point to any wall they are placed upon, whether this is inside or out.
Unlike most other wall plaques that you will see, my work is not mass-produced cast in plaster, resin, concrete, or artificial stone. I produce my plaques by hand pressing clay into a mould of my original designs, then spend considerable time hand-finishing each plaque, sharpening its appearance and improving its surface texture. The use of a press-mould allows the repeated production of a given design and the hand finishing leads to individualization, making every plaque unique!
Most plaque designs are available either unglazed with an iron oxide, glazed green all over, or with green leaves and natural looking faces or flowers.
Prices reflect the time each piece takes to produce, its size and the different finishes available. All prices are exclusive of postage & packing.
Here are some examples.
Brancepeth/Rosslyn Green Man This early plaque design of mine arose from a comment from a friend. "Have you seen the Green Man in the Churchyard?" asked Caleb. "No!" I said. I found it as a little sculptured head on a tombstone of 1830 here in Brancepeth. I was surprised to see a Green Man in such a late context until I discovered that it was an early piece of Gothic Revival copied from a medieval original in Rosslyn Chapel, Scotland. This chapel is featured in the Da Vinci Code and is a suggested location for the Holy Grail! (Size c.8½" X 9½", c.21cm X 24cm) Price c.£35 to £45
Roger Xmas Green Man This large plaque is one of my most popular designs & was an attempted portrait of my old friend Roger Norris, who used to be the Chapter House Librarian in Durham Cathedral. It was one of my earliest designs & I wanted to capture his wonderful smile. It was also based on the tradition of the Green Man as Father Christmas. So I copied real Holy & Ivy leaves to give it its Christmas theme. Although the plaque is based in the Medieval tradition of Green Men, the level of realism is more typical of modern representations. (Size c.10½" X 10", c.25cm X 27cm) Price c.£45 to £55
Durham Floral Green Man Roger suggested I looked at the plaques found on the 15th-century ceiling of the cloisters of Durham Cathedral, which include several Green Men among various other themes. The originals are a mix of medieval and later dates, but the later early Gothic Revival pieces are clearly based upon medieval originals.
This large plaque is a very popular design of mine, with its charming mixture of leaves & flowers, and it was Roger who pointed out that it probably depicts Christ as a Green Man in an interesting combination of Christian and Pagan motifs. With his crown of thorns & sprouting roses, it therefore represents the resurrection (in fact also one of the attributes of the Green Man in his Pagan guise as well). He is often known as 'Brucie' as he looks like Bruce Forsyth! (Size c.10½", c.27cm square) Price c.£45 to £55
Norwich Green Man The first plaque I did was a one-off for my friend Helen and was based on a ceiling boss in Norwich Cathedral, where recent work has dated it to the 14thC, and relates it to its Christian context. This ties in with the judgement of the soul after death, which has to face a long a perilous journey along a forested path, and he represents the glimmer of hope and salvation. The original has a painted natural looking face and golden Acanthus leaves, and as such probably also represents autumn and therefore life in its full maturity. (Size c.7½" X 8", c.19cm X 20cm) Price c.£35 to £45
Oak-Leaf Green Man This popular plaque of mine is based on an original design in the Green Man tradition found in many medieval churches and cathedrals. However the level of realism in this design (particularly in the oak leaves) is more typical of modern representations of the Green Man as a nature spirit and pagan fertility symbol. (Size c.7½" X 8½", c.19cm X 21cm) Price c.£35 to £45
Durham Floral Plaque This large plaque is based on another ceiling boss in the cloisters of Durham Cathedral. Although the ceiling is 15th-century, this design may be a 19th copy of an earlier piece. This piece consists of an attractive geometric floral and foliage pattern, which is typical of many of the Durham Cloister designs. (Size c.10½", c.27cm square) Price c.£45 to £55
Durham Square Lion Green Man This large plaque is also based on a ceiling boss in the cloisters of Durham Cathedral. Although the ceiling is 15th-century, this design may be a 19th copy of an earlier piece. This Green Man also appears to be a Lion, which in medieval times was thought to sleep with its eyes open, and is therefore is ever watching for the devil who tempts man to commit sin. This also ties in directly with the Gospel of St. Mark, and its coverage of the Resurrection (Size c.10½", c.27cm square) Price c.£45 to £55
Brancepeth Beast This plaque is an original design of mine based on a carving found on the early 17th-century porch to Brancepeth Church, in Co. Durham that was erected by rector John Cosin, who later became one of the most famous bishops of Durham. It probably represents the 'Brawn of Brancepeth, a monstrous wild boar, which legend says once terrorised the local area. (Size c.9½" X 8", c.20cm X 24cm) Price c.£35
Rip Van Winkle Green Man This plaque is based on a cartoon I saw in a puzzle book. He is a mix between a Green Man and “Rip van Winkle”, lying asleep as the autumn leaves fall down around and over him. In my plaque, as he has slept he has turned into a tree! (Size c.8½" X 4½", c.22cm X 12cm) Price c.£25
Neumagen Green Man This plaque is based on a picture by Clive Hicks of a very early Green Man in a freeze on a pagan Roman tomb from Neumagen in the Moselle valley of Germany. It is said that he represents a fully mature, tired and aged man awaiting transformation to the other life by the god Dionysus. This helps illustrate the origins of the Green Man. (Size c.9½" X 5½", c.24cm X 14cm) Price c.£30
Little Green Man 1 This little plaque is an original design of mine spontaneously thrown together in a peak of artistic inspiration. He was designed to be used as a quick way of making faces on face jugs but works equally well as a little portable plaque, that can be hung or placed anywhere in the house, office or home as the possessor feels. (Size c.4¾", c.12cm diameter) Price c. £15
Acanthus Green Man This plaque is loosely based upon another Clive Hicks photograph. He is the well known Green Man from Bamberg, in Germany, with his face covered in a mask of acanthus leaves and probably dates from around 1235-9. (Size c.7½" X 6¾", c.19cm X 17cm) Price c.£35
Little Green Man 2 This little plaque is another original design of mine. He is a pleasant little fellow that works well as a little portable plaque, that can be hung or placed anywhere in the house, office or home as the possessor feels. (Size c.3¾", c.8cm diameter) Price c.£10
Oak-leaf Green Man 2 This is a smallish plaque designed for someone who wants something special, as a gift for example, that's not too expensive, but is a bit bigger than my Little Green Men. (Size c.6½" X 5¾", c.8cm diameter) Price c.£25
Venus This is one is taken from a well known neo-pagan design, and is very popular with the ladies. Although it looks very simple, it is rather tricky to get out of the mould in one piece. (Size c.6", c.15cm long) Price c.£15
Frequently Asked Questions!
Are they frost-proof?
Most of the glazed plaques are highly frost resistant but not fully frost proof. They will probably survive happily outside all year round in a dry position, such as on a house wall, but they may be damaged by the frost if kept wet during frosty winter conditions. The iron oxide washed plaques are generally fired to much higher temperatures and are much more frost resistant.
Where do I put them?
Its up to you! I don't like to fetter your imagination by telling what you should do with them. When I first started making my wall plaques I thought that people would put them on garden walls, but my customers have often had other ideas. Some have been put in hallways and porches to greet friends and visitors alike. Some people like to place them where they can rub them for luck as they go in and out the house. Some have been put into conservatories or greenhouses and others have even been put into gardens! Personally I think the glazed plaques are better inside, bringing year round colour into the house, but I have seen the iron-washed plaques looking spectacular inside due to dramatic lighting. They all do very well when well lit. They will glow with warmth in the sun and the depth I have given most designs produces striking sculptural effects especially with side lighting. Alternatively you might not want to fix them anywhere and carry them about or reposition them frequently to where you are in the house, office or garden.
All ceramic products are fragile so care should be taken in their handling and during fixing to any wall, etc.