Wayne Ngan made a bunch of these I suspect. Over my years of looking at, and collecting his work, this is one of the more common forms I see. What I appreciate about them is their functionality (they're quite useful as a "catch all" or would be great to use as a serving plate), their consistency (all the ones I've seen always lay perfectly flat which is testimony to Mr. Ngan's skill as a master craftsman), and the creative variety in the way he glazed and decorated them (which is testimony to his talent as an artist).
Here are some examples to show this variety in a simple standard form - slip trailed designs, hakeme brushwork, colour variations, and sgrafitto carvings. These themes surface time and again on his other ceramic work as well.
This form would have been relatively simple and straight forward for him to make. The clay would have been rolled out on a wedging table to a uniform thickness - usually 10mm thick. This gives these trays a solid and substantial feel when held. The slab of clay would then be draped over a hump mould to give it it's shape, and would then be trimmed to size. The size of these is quite consistent, they are close to 9" x 9" with the small variation you would expect of any hand built piece of studio pottery.
Four pieces of clay would then be added to serve as feet. Generally they are "squared" (as seen below). There can be some variety to the way he finished the feet; distance from centre to edge, how cleanly the feet were finished, etc. The edges were then smoothed before bisque firing to ensure no sharp edges, and he signed these pieces by placing his chop mark underneath in the centre.
Once bisque fired Mr. Ngan had a blank canvas on which to apply the artistic flourishes that are unmistakably his. The example below is one I feel is among the best. He simply applied thick hakeme brush strokes across the face of the tray. Anything less, or any added decor would take away from the simplistic beauty of this piece of work. I was fortunate enough to be given this example by a good friend. It now sits among other fine examples of Wayne's hakeme.
While these trays are beautiful, they are prone to damage - presumably from use. Look for chipping and fleabites along the edges. Regardless, they are beautiful to look at and popular among Ngan collectors. If you have one of these trays you would like to showcase and have me add to this post, or if you have one you wish to sell, please feel free to contact me.
Studio Pottery Canada
Pottery enthusiast learning about the history of this Canadian art form and curating samples from the best in the field pre-1980.