After a break to recover from making the tortoise shell, I started thinking about the base (or “tortoise bottom” as ESP referred to it – oh how we laughed 🙄).
The first issue was how high should it be? My original idea was to have the sides of the base quite low, to represent the idea of the tortoise being close to the ground.
But when I made some cardboard moulds of different heights to see how it looked, I felt that the lid rather swamped the lower bases, so I decided to make a higher base of around 5cm.
I also wanted to make a tortoise design on the bottom of the base, which would be revealed only when the lid was removed. I found a fair few coiled turtle designs in African and Native American baskets, though most of these were round and mine had to be oval.
In the end I created a striped pattern to match the lid.
I kept testing the base with the lid as it grew, to check how the proportions were working.
I wanted the sides to be plain black so as not to distract from the lid, but there seemed to be an awful lot of black as the base grew higher. So in the end I added a small border of yellow triangles to match the border on the lid.
And here is the finished piece.
I will always think of this as my Covid piece, as it occupied most of my time during lockdown! And it struck me that it was rather appropriate in so many ways, evoking a tortoise’s ability to withdraw into itself, seeking shelter and protection.