Friday, November 27, 2015

Ceramic Fall Semester @ CSN

Each semester I take an art class at our local community college to expand my knowledge of other materials, materials other than fiber.  This Fall semester I took Ceramics.  Mastery did not come easy, although time spent in the lab as well as in class lessened the learning curve and frustration.  Working with clay in a desert environment is a blessing and a curse. It drys quickly which makes building easy, but doesn't allow well for days in between.  The wonder found in clay is the material adapts to creating visual texture, extreme or minor.  The technique of glazing adds other dimensions, color, line light and shadows.

Anya was an inspiration for one class assignment. She is our daughter's dog.  As you can see in her photo, Anya has very big ears; that is not an exaggeration !  By varying the concentration of stain in specific areas I was able to increase contrast and add dimension to the flat surface of the clay.  There is more experimentation and skill building that can be explored and acquired in is this area.  I think Anya is a good start in the right direction.  I would like to create photo like images on clay using stain and limited texture on the clay.

Anya ~ Our Daughter's Dog
Anya modeled in clay
Anya stained and glazed

An other assignment was to create something in the world in a larger demension.  Growing up in the high desert of Southern CA and spending hours catching, also releasing, local wild life, I was familiar with native reptiles. From memory and a photo on a iphone, I molded the clay into a horned toad lizard.  Creating his texture using the end of a paint brush was fun, a type of medication. The completed horned toad seems to be a comic version of the real lizard, an animated version instead of realistic rendition.  I like this version very much as it speaks to my more whimsical side of creating art.

Horned Toad w Texture added

Horned Toad Lizard ~ Final Glaze

My greatest challenge this semester was to move from utilitarian projects toward nonfunctional pieces.  Ideas formed slowly. Finally around mid-semester, I was able to break through with one idea. The one concept soon led to others. The struggle with mastering clay and glazes (at least operationally) was well worth the time and the effort.

Coming from a quilting background, I experimented with the basics of the ceramic tile. I pulled open the form and discovered that I liked the look of a torn tile; it spoke to the constraints and responses of the material under pressure.

What excites me most when making art is learning a medium and pushing it past what we normally expect.  So with the creation of torn ceramic tiles,  I was challenged to artfully combine clay and my medium of choice, textiles. Combining fiber and clay produced some really interesting compositions.  Ideas are still germinating and I will share them in future blogs.  Below you can see the beginnings of the first concept.

Mixed Media ~ Textile & Ceramic
Textile dyed, painted, fused, stitched
Ceramic Tiles un-fired