"The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself."
~ Henry Miller
This field is basically in my back yard...belonging to the farm by my house. When I passed by I was taken by the amount of information in this one small space. Color, line, and texture pulled in my attention and within seconds I saw these patterns and surfaces on clay....
As I watch more people around me heading on their summer vacation or fulfilling their yearly back packing trip, I have been feeling that urge to run off on an adventure...that overwhelming itch to travel. It's been almost three years since I have done so, and with the harsh realization that at this point I cannot afford the money nor the time to escape and discover new cultures and places I have given myself the challenge of seeing the world around me with fresh eyes. I have also felt stagnate in my work, many times frustrated as I struggle to overcome artistic obstacles....So the two feelings have found themselves to be quite complimentary as I pair them and see my world and work in a new way.
The image above is the wall of a building belonging to the farm next door to me. I've made a point to look around and see things differently and in a way that I can connect them to my work. Surface and line have attracted my eyes many places that I go, and I have discovered new inspiration right in my own back yard. This wall reminded me of some ideas I have been working in my mind lately...throwing a form with thick walls and carving away. Maybe even applying a thick slip on the surface with a flexible rib. I worked in the studio that evening and created a few pieces similar to the one in the image below. I enjoyed the process...playful, yet with intention, as I carved and cut and smeared the clay. When they dry a bit more I am curious to carve the feet to resemble the surface of the walls. I am also interested in attempting some plates with this surface. I do not necessarily know where the pieces will be in the end, but I can envision the soft glow of a wood fired surface and the ash adding depth. Or maybe cone six...a compilation of matte colors that alternate within the patches of surface.
As we loaded the wood kiln a few weeks ago my eye focused in on a pile of plates that Catherine had created layered in between the cardboard squares for safe storage and travel. The alternation of the lines and smooth surface of the clay was intriguing. Within just a few minutes as we took a break, I found myself drawing in the dirt. A square form with a section of vertical and horizontal lines. I have considered carving lines and patterns into my work (of course just sections), maybe experimenting with oxides and slips. A play with surface and direction...how will it compliment my forms?
The piece below was a demonstration during my hand building class that I was teaching...it doesn't completely execute my ideas and visions for the work related to my ideas, but I can see a definite relation to those thoughts and those images that caught my eye during the loading. The interuption of direction in the folded corners, the crease in the clay off center, the smooth triangle of clay that folds over the edge, and the oxide that sits in the surface. I have faith that I can take these ideas and inspirations further...