Since moving to Arrowmont as an Artist in Residence I have been provided the opportunity to share my work each week with students and artists that come for workshops! It has been a great experience to talk about my work, techniques, and experiences with others in such great depth. Some time has passed since my last blog, so I though I would share with you a bit of what I present to those that attend our artist talks! I hope that you enjoy this glimpse into my work and the thought behind it...
Sense of Place
Porcelain, Gold Luster
13” x 14”
Looking at my work you wouldn’t know that I spent years in the wood firing community. Honestly, I always felt a disconnect between my woodfired pots and my love for drawing and painting, and struggled identifying myself with my work. I discovered that what I really loved about woodfiring wasn’t necessarily my work, but instead was the community and sense of belonging that I found within it.
In graduate school I took an art history course that inspired me to incorporate the dog with my figures. I portray moments of closeness and comfort and depict the dog sometimes mirroring the gesture of the person. I was particularly interested in the way the emptiness of color encouraged the viewer to focus on the moment depicted and also how it conveyed this companionship as an idea or a symbol.
The use of dogs as surrogate human beings and as metaphor shares a profound history within psychology and the arts.
Aside from what dogs provide us psychologically and emotionally in our current lives; within many canonic masterpieces they are essential to the meaning of the human cast of characters or narrative. They provide symbolism for loyalty, fidelity, and compassion or in many works the dog is used as a stand in for humans.
Rest In Blues
Porcelain, Gold Luster
15.5” x 18”
This body of work references our relationship with the dog and uses its presence in art history as a way to talk about belonging and comfort. I use the dog in my work not to convey a specific animal, but to convey a feeling and to talk about all relationships and our innate desire to belong.
I find a lot of inspiration in the history of ceramics moving beyond conventional function and form, creating union between shape, decoration, and story is fascinating. Like this, my work varies in shape and incorporates low relief volume and gold luster details within the nostalgic patterns.
While at Arrowmont, one of my main goals is to create a larger variety of forms and explore pattern. I plan to investigate techniques and materials that provide a physical and visual softness through surface, layers, and more volume.
You can see more of my work and my time at Arrowmont by following me on Instagram @stephanie.m.wilhelm and subscribing to my mailing list in the contact page of my site!