Still Airborne, now with Spitfires.

A Spitfire was modled in clay, based on plans found on a website, from this a plaster mould was made and four planes produced in a porcelain body called Pairan. It’s beautiful, translucent, bone-coloured and develops a low sheen in the firing.

Here come the planes

Spitfires await firing. The propellors were made separatly to glue on afterwards.

planes grounded
The Spitfires with the earlier, earthenware one (in camouflage). They hung around on the bench for a while and I really wasnt sure I liked them, and couldnt think of a good job for them. They just lurked…

But clearly a plane should fly; so they were hung up.

Spitfires in flight

In a nice straight line they looked much more like business. Comments included ‘cakey’, they look like icing, and such; then the ‘ting’ they give on being tapped comes as a surprise.

With studio lighting they cast shadows…

Spitfire shadows

A Spitfire is such an evocative thing for many – ‘Oh the smell of the glue; the roar of the little engines…’ A lot of people seem to have spent time as lads making Spitfires from kits in their bedrooms, then being at a loss as to how to deal with all the time and trouble represented by the model, decide that hanging it from the ceiling is a suitably respectful end.

Spitfires suspended
They are jets for the moment as the propellors have not been attached.

This plane seems to embody so much that we think of as ‘British’, small, plucky, idiosyncratic, flown by the seat of the pants, etc. Nostalgia, not ours but for a past which is now at least two generations ago; from the memories of grandparents or parents.

Spitfires suspended

So now my friend (Gorillaman) who used to sing The Doors ‘…this is the end…’ whenever he saw me, now starts singing Laurie Anderson’s ‘Oh Superman’.


4 thoughts on “Still Airborne, now with Spitfires.

  1. Canvas more cuddley than porcelain – however Spitfire arms metal in the original…

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