Out of Stock

Ceramic Chess Set | Elysa Rose-Coster


Chess Set & Box
Elysa Rose-Coster
Ceramic Pieces with Knit Copper Wire
Set Complete With Wooden Board and Carrying Box

Agincourt: a bloody mire, an Underdog battle fought in the 15th century between the English and French in France. War, mud, fire and fray made me think of chess. I would make a chess set for the wood firing. I didn’t want to sculpt or cast. I didn’t want to lose the sense of the hand in the work but I also wanted a manageable way to make thirty two individual pieces that belonged together.

I had a toy as a child: Crystal Climbers, flat translucent squares and circles with notches cut in the middle of each side so that one piece could interlock with another. I loved how I could build structures with such simple forms and ways of connecting.
Pawns became rectangles connected by notches. I chose a graphic for each of the other pieces: a horizontal zig-zag for the rook, a scalene triangle to imply a horse’s head, an isosceles triangle for the bishop’s hat, and crowns for the king and queen. I used two different clays and two different textures; small indents to imply bullet marks on concrete walls and little lines to represent scratches in armor. The pieces came out of the fire looking too similar to differentiate sides.
In high school gym class, we had to wear disgusting yellow pinnies that probably got washed once a season. I thought about making team jerseys.
The chess set transformed from a battlefield to a playing field. I knit red copper wire to fit inside the cavity of the pieces making a sort of internal chain mail or pinny for one team.  This was my first experience of an idea becoming a puzzle culminating in a story. The next chapter will begin when people actually meet in a battle of wits on the chess board.

This item is ineligible to be shipped due to its size and fragility.  Please enter code “pickitupplease” at checkout to pick this item up in-store.  Otherwise, please contact Maine Craft Portland for inquiries before purchase.

This piece is currently at Maine Craft Portland as part of The Craft Maker’s Gambit Exhibition.

Out of stock

Elysa Rose-Coster
Rockland, ME

Shipping Measurements

Weight 70 lbs
Dimensions 70 × 70 × 70 in