Working up the Saz

Last week I posted about an inspirational visit to my local museum in Ipswich where I discovered the ‘saz’ motif of Persian ceramics.

Ceramic tiles decorated with the saz motif. ‘Saz’ is a rush or reed. This is an example decorating 16th-century Iznik Pottery

As I am always on the lookout for any interesting shapes, designs, motifs that I can adapt and use in my work, this turned out to be a particularly rewarding visit.

The ‘Saz’ motif is a design derived from the natural world. It is a stylised reed and as such I liked the idea of working it up with a stylised fish or two.

The Saz motif with fish.

Once I have finished painting a block of mask designs, usually about 10 at a time, it is time for the fixing process. That’s two hours in the steamer wrapped in paper.

The Saz motif used in a more simple design.

When the steaming time is up, the silk is washed and cut up into mask-sized rectangles. Then it’s all change in my studio. The dyes and frame are put aside and the sewing machine takes centre stage as I sew up the next batch of masks.

Author: agnesashe

Artisan, blogger and passionate East Anglian working from home.

13 thoughts on “Working up the Saz”

    1. Oh that’s nice to know. Thank you. And, they are different because I couldn’t do two exactly the same if I tried. Dyes on silk not that far off Suminagashi – my new word for today!!

      1. Oooh, I had to look that up. I used to love paper marbling – I used to do it with the children. I haven’t really got anywhere to do messy now.

      2. I thought you might – I have a broad smile on my face now!! You know I couldn’t even remember the term ‘paper marbling’ so Googled ‘ink on water art’. Tut, getting old. Still think I prefer the Japanese, Suminagashi, sounds more beautiful.

  1. Once again just wow. And I love the colors- so clear and vibrant. It’s fun to have seen the moments when you got the inspiration in the first post and now seeing it come into being.

      1. Yes. There is an element of wild card-ness in every art work process. And no way to figure in a way to cope, ahead of time, is there? Just go on and see what happens!

    1. Thanks. I definitely enjoy looking at the patterns now I no longer have to write an essay about them! That’s a bit naughty of me as I do remember, even though it was 20 years ago, a fascinating seminar about discoveries of early Islamic decoration that showed some depictions of animals and humans.

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