Friday, September 30, 2016

Burnt Offerings--Playing With Fire

 After what feels like fumbling around forever to find a direction that fully engages me I am excited by my recent pit fired sculptures.  They are inspired by my own encounters with animals and are an homage to Paul Shepard, noted anthropologist, ecologist and author of The Others, Coming Home to The Pleistocene, and many other thought provoking books.  I have been exploring animal imagery for the past several years and have gone from the approachable, cuter figure to these somewhat mysterious figures.  I am hoping to create that feeling of heightened awareness combined with a little fear and wonder that I have when I come face to face with an animal.  Shepard argues that without our relationship to "the others" we are not fully human.  With the "Disneyfication" of animals making all animals cute and friendly we deny them their mysterious power and a knowledge that is greater than ours in many ways.  Without recognizing the wild in animals we deny our own primitive and wild nature.
Song Dogs
 The process of creating these animals is exciting as the action of the fire on the bisqued clay is completely out of my control and yields amazing results. The pieces are buried in layers of sawdust, newspaper, and branches that I collect from our woods. Once the fire is lit the pit is covered and burns all day and night. In the morning I remove the cover and see what magic the fire has worked. It is always exciting to brush the ashes away and see the patterns on the clay.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Explorer or Miner?

From an article by Stephen M. Parks about artist Armand Lara:
"Artists might be roughly lumped into two categories, the miners and the explorers. The miners find a medium, a style and subject matter that fit their aesthetic sensibility and then spend a professional lifetime mining that creative lode.  The explorers, on the other hand, are restless souls plying their protean talents in this genre and that working one vein then turning to another that gleams there in the mysterious muck.  Giacometti was a miner.  Picasso was an explorer.  And Armand Lara is an explorer."

These words have helped me explain why I work in clay, fiber, wood and concrete and have worked large, small and in between.  I just finished a children's book created with illustrations made from figures and sets I constructed and am now back in the world of fired clay with the intention of doing some large installations. Along the way I took a quick detour and did a fiber piece about my childhood in a military family.  Time will tell if the world can accept the explorers of the world.  In the meantime I am on a great adventure!


Sunday, January 24, 2016

Teatro dei Ratti or The Theater of the Rats

What do you do when you make some rats and the diva among them demands a stage? You make a rat theater! This project is a great example of the many factors that collide to form a new idea.

Dulcinea

Algernon


Horatio


The rats demanded a stage and fortunately I had an old dresser that had been sitting in my studio for about a year just waiting to be transformed.


Two of the drawers were broken which made it easy for me to sacrifice them. I had been listening to the Metropolitan Opera broadcasts in the studio all winter so naturally the theater became Italian. 


Teatro dei Ratti

The first drawer is for costumes and the bottom drawer panel has hidden hinges and folds down for scenery and prop storage. The rats seem pleased and that's what matters.


The Theater Troupe