Wildness vs. Restraint January 05 2015


Slowly but surely, I'm getting to an interesting place with the sculptural work for the mentorship program. Here is a quick "bouquet" I arranged from greenware & bisqued elements (some slip trailed, some hand built). This week I mixed a quick batch of paper clay, using old Laguna Frost casting slip and some paper slurry (water, toilet paper, immersion blender). I've never used paper clay before, but have watched other artists sculpt with it, and I knew it would enable me to build & join the porcelain with more ease. I was definitely able to work the paper clay more aggressively. I treated thin slabs of it like fabric and cut it with scissors to create petals. These are just the first efforts -- blossoms and greenery roughly based off the memory of the plants in the floral nursery where my mom worked when I was young and where I was lucky to spend time every day (our house was right beside the nursery, so essentially I grew up in a flower bed...think 80s bedding plants -- lots of geraniums & petunias). 


My second experiment was to create a hybrid of the Laguna Frost casting slip & the paper clay mixture, so I could still draw quickly & gesturally with the bottle of slip, while taking advantage of the strength of the paper clay. This allowed me to make flat components that I could sketch out and then slip together later on & build into three dimensional forms (pods, layers of flower heads). The possibilities of this method are really exciting. I keep veering between wanting to work in a very free and intuitive way, yet all my drawings/concepts are more uptight. When I went back to my sketchbook I saw the words WILDNESS vs. RESTRAINT and yelled, "AHA!" That's my theme, 100%


Pictured above is a quick study of what the original elements (just Frost slip, no paper clay added) look like when presented on a bold, painted wall surface (gauche). I'd love to create a whole wall like this, with many porcelain elements integrated onto a wallpapered pattern. Again, wildness vs. restraint.  
Since I have resolved that 2015 is my year of creative & professional development (shouldn't they all be?), alongside the mentorship program, I'm starting an exciting new e-course tomorrow with Molly Hatch & Ben Carter: Think Big! A Branding Series for Ceramic Artists Happy New Year, everyone! What creative goals are you pushing for this year?