Thinking of building an ark in Austin again this morning - but it's hot still. I counted forward to about 9 weeks (two months exactly) until fall, and I can start thinking about scavenging for leaves again. I do love leaves, and use them in all kinds of artwork - including my ceramics. I found these little tiles in a box while I was searching for something else - don't remember what, as I was so excited to find these. The two tiles with the bas-relief leaves were done during my "glaze layering" phase. I collected the leaves while out walking with my plastic "leaf collecting" bag, and then flattened them between the pages of a telephone directory. A plaster bat was poured into a foil baking pan and left to harden and dry for a few days, and then I simply placed the leaves on the surface of the plaster and drew around each one with a nail (I love plain old kitchen equipment for my pottery). Veins were scratched into the plaster leaf outlines- and then low fire clay was pressed onto the mold. I had cut a number of small tiles from a rolled out slab, and then just placed the cut out clay leaves onto each. After the tiles were dried for a few days, they were fired. then the whole piece - each one - was glazed with a light, yellow green - and then painted with a blue/green glaze around the leaves. Two coats, I think, as I wanted the lighter green to show through a bit. I also did a number of these with blue glaze over the green, intending to use them as a tile border around a mirror. After applying three coats of clear satin glaze, they were fired once again. The second set of small sample tiles was done by simply rolling over flattened leaves placed onto the clay slab - then cutting out the tiles. The leaves were removed and the tiles were dried and then fired - and glazed. This time I used the yellow/green glaze, and painted a pretty green just over the leaves. The yellow/green shows through beautifully, and gives the leaves a bit of dimension. I have also used the plaster molds of leaves to decorate bowls and vases and plates, etc. This is a very absorbing and relaxing activity for me - and it increases my awareness of the beautiful shapes of natural things!!