During the time the theme was announced, I was beginning my second of two drawing classes in Newton; a class is a perk of being an instructor for Newton Community Education where I currently teach clay to all ages. I was humbled and frustrated by the place I found myself when I arrived at my drawing class this fall, but by spring these two teachers had lead me past mental roadblocks and set me on the path of rediscovering my voice with skills that I could take to the clay surface.
I began working with a drawing of my hand holding the stem of a peony as a self portrait. The peony is the flower that blooms every year around the time of my wedding anniversary; it signifies the memory of the transition into a new role of wife and subsequently motherhood in a year that my children have left home. The negative space around the image in white is the silhouette of a woman’s shape. The pink of the peony, the gentle grasp of the stem, the soft form all suggest femininity to me. I worked on these two pieces at the same time, starting first with the bowl and moving to the plate.
When I look at the two pieces side by side, I see a bowl with an image on the left and a ceramic statement on the right. The bowl is a piece you might hang on a wall and contemplate in an intellectual manner. The plate is a form and image interacting as one. An only a utilitarian form can do, it invites you to interact by touch when the surface image draws you in. The two pieces together are a metaphor and entrance to my storytelling in this self portrait. Other pieces will follow to create a larger collection.
My process for creating these two pieces began with wheel thrown well made forms with a handmade swirl in the center to emphasis the human component of pottery. Once trimmed and in a “suede” state, I use a pencil to transfer my drawing. The lines are carved and then inlaid with green underglaze. Masters of this technique are Kristen Keiffer, Michael Klein and Julia Galloway, contemporary ceramicists who use Mishima in their work. Space is defined by layers of white and blue underglaze before the forms are dried and fired to bisque. Glazing has three layers and uses the characteristics of a clear glaze in conjunction with other glazes to enhance the surface decoration.
“Flowers”: a summer collection installed at the Dedham Square Artist Guild located in historic Dedham Square, Dedham, MA
In the summer months, I enjoy working with low fire clay. A lower firing temperature allows me to utilize brighter colors that can “burn out” when the temperature in a ceramics kiln is higher. I began creating my “Flowers” collection while working on my summer art classes curricula.
I spent time at my local library, pouring over books to come up with new and exciting ideas for my students and found myself interested in learning more about certain flowers.
Vessels were hand built and ready for surface decoration. Slips, textures, carving and underglaze ceramic paints were used to create imagery; low fire glazes completed the vision.
“Flowers” can be functional for bouquets in water, food for a party; or, individual pieces can be hung on a wall or displayed on a tabletop. My ceramics are meant to be picked up and explored. Textured surfaces to the finger tip are a delight. Three dimensional art begs to be touched, picked up and interacted with. Ceramics is functional art.
Please visit the Dedham Square Artist Guild to purchase a piece from “Flowers”. Each piece is one of a kind. The collection is small but varied. Each piece stands alone but works well together. “Flowers” is perfect for the collector and just right for a wedding gift.
Trips inspire new art from a city filled with it: New York City
1. Sara Japanese Pottery 2. Wood fired pottery upper east side 3. Odilon Redon early 1900s 4. Colorful handblown glass vases in a city window 5. Van Gogh 6. Pork buns at Red Barn dim sum, Greenwich Village 7. Van Gogh at The Met 8. Handmade Ceramics in Soho 9. Faceted bowls
Artists across eastern Massachusetts created 14 supersized works of at least 24 inches in different mediums that will be on display from Nov. 14 through January 2 at the Dedham Community Theatre on High Street.
About my piece:
My “BIG” vase was made in porcelain while I was studying art at Skidmore College. It was the last time that I had the opportunity to fire my work in a large reduction kiln. This type of firing uses gas and that is what produces these beautiful copper reds. The surface decoration feels very holiday to me with its reds and greens. I imagine this vase filled with an arrangement of red roses and white lilies, holly with tiny red berries, pine and perhaps ivy for a glorious centerpiece.
It’s functional pottery created to bring beauty to everyday life.
Powisset Farm CSA week eight included beets, basil, tomatoes and sunflowers!
“The sunflower is an annual plant native to the Americas. It … is often used to depict the sun. The plant has a rough, hairy stem, broad, coarsely toothed, rough leaves, and circular flower heads. The heads consist of many individual flowers which mature into seeds, often in the hundreds, on a receptacle base.”
Many artists, such as Vincent Van Gogh (painting above) loved the image of the sunflower.
The sunflower is the state flower of Kansas and the national flower of the Ukraine.
It is also the symbol of the vegan society. A “Vegan” is a person who chooses to avoid eating animals or anything associated with them like eggs and dairy.
The top selling cookbook for Vegan recipes is “Veganomicon” There is even a recipe for Sunflower Mac and Cheese (really!).
The Food and Pottery Connection for Week 8 ~ I’m interested in the flowers this week not so much the sunflower recipes; therefore my connection is the vase in which the beautiful flowers go into. Functional pottery created to bring beauty to everyday life.
Pie Share #4 beet and carrot (the best yet!). Pie and a handmade vase full of farm fresh flowers makes the perfect pairing.