Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Week 10: Rejuvenation

This week I had the wonderful opportunity to teach a one-on-one workshop on the figure to a very talented fellow artist. Taking a break from my grueling building schedule to commune with another artist as we built in clay together filled my studio with a renewed energy and enthusiasm for the work I need to do.  Thank you, thank you, thank you Deborah!

Deborah Grayson with her beautiful new figure!  

I'm used to spending my days alone in the studio and recently the days seem to have become longer and longer.  But as my show at the Marietta Cobb Museum of Art gets closer I can feel the self-doubt about the new direction of my work rearing its ugly head.  On the one hand, rationally I know that this is completely normal and these feelings can help me push my work creatively and conceptually.  On the other hand, the insecure artist side of me feels paralyzed and dreams of hiding under the covers for a while. What a breath of fresh air it was to get out of my own head this week and laugh.

One of the last porcelain pieces I am building for the show.  Now I am elbow deep in black stoneware!

Well, the kiln is running and the clay is calling--time to get back to work! Next week... my show at Copper Fox in Leiper's Fork, TN on August 3rd. I will be there showing a sneak peak of my new collection, Shadow Circus, and sharing a little about my process.  I hope to see you all there!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Week 11: More Studio Pics

This week I have spent vacillating between excitement about the new work coming out of my studio and extreme terror that about meeting all of my artistic and contractual goals.
The week started with a visit to the Marietta Cobb Museum of Art to take a look at the space for the show I will be having with Lorraine Glessner on September 28th. The show I have been working on for more than a year is going to be a reality very, very soon! Again, excitement and terror.

Here are a few images of the space, showing their current exhibition.

Needless to say I continue to work like I am chained to the studio, trying to keep the panic at bay and let the ideas flow. 
This leaves me little time for reflection or contemplation over blog entries. So if you will excuse me again, I will offer instead some pics of the fruits of my labor.  Again, this involves the ceramic building part of my process.  The second stage will take place after the work is fired.

Similar to the previous conjoined piece (see week 18: The Slow Burn), this piece involves different directions of the same soul.

And if all of this wasn't enough, my husband is finishing out my studio to make it ready for visitors!  He is absolutely the best!!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Week 12: Images of What's To Come

The kids are gone for a couple weeks so I am working like a madman trying to get work done and take full advantage of the uninterrupted time.  I have so many pieces in process that I can hardly keep them all straight, let alone put together a cohesive blog that would be even mildly entertaining.  So instead, I'll give you a sneak peak of the process/chaos in the studio.  Enjoy!!

Full figure, approximately 3 1/2 feet from foot to rear.  Will be holding something special.  I love how the feet turned out!

 Figure riding an old victorian rocking horse.  The strap is to support the arm until it sets-up.

This is a table top piece that is riding an antique riveter I purchased at Antique Archeology in Nashville.  It will appear at my show at Copper Fox on August 3rd.  Right now it is driving me crazy trying to get the right position without putting too much stress on the joints.

These figures will appear on a antique handbuilt wooden car jack.  Can you guess what it will be about?

 One of two larger heads in the beginning stages.

Another medium figure finished with the first coat of stain.  Drips and splashes!

Another batch of small heads waiting to be fired with a second batch in the coming down the assembly line.
That's about how I feel right now.  Pooped!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Week 13: What's with all the junk?

This week's blog is inspired by my trip last Saturday to Chattanooga, where I attended an antique medical estate sale.  Where many people would say "ewwww," I was beyond excited to check out the tools, equipment, instruments, books, and furniture in the massive collection and see if I could pick a few treasured pieces to use with my work. And what treasures there were!

This vintage eye testing machine is just one of the pieces I found that will be used in future work.  My mind reels with the stories this may unfold.

Why I am talking about my antique adventures?  Well,  I have mentioned before that picking or pickin' is somewhat of an obsession for me. I have my parents to thank for that. Dad's side of the family were farmers, and on a farm you never, ever throw ANYTHING away that could be repurposed or reused.  That trait was definitely passed down to my father and to me. As a little girl I would spend hours going through his "treasures" and reinventing new creations with them. In addition, Mom would take us antiquing on the weekends in the Virginia countryside where we explored the history of the area and the treasures it held.  Through the both of them I developed an appreciation for the past and a desire to find a new function for things that had lost their original purpose.

I can't say when exactly I started to combine found objects with my ceramic work, but it was a natural progression of my narrative impulse.  I was drawn aesthetically to how these objects play off the ceramics, such as the rusty, crusty nature of the object and the fine skin of the porcelain.  Moreover, working with both mediums is a faint whisper of the collaboration I experienced in the theater.  But most importantly, I recognized that these objects created the feeling of another world in my work--a by-gone world. But these objects are not held high in a nostalgic or saccharine way. We relate to them because they are a part of our history. But in my sculptures I give them a new meaning or rebirth.  These found objects help to define the story I am telling, just as our own history informs who we are. 
Where does this need to rescue lost items lead me?  EVERYWHERE!  I search flea markets, antique markets, garage sales, salvage stores, junk yards, estate sales and even along the side of the road.  (Although I have had to stop hopping out of the car to pick up interesting scrap since it was sending the wrong safety message to my kids! )  And now, even friends and collectors of mine send me unwanted junk they find!  Am I the only person in the world that gets all warm and fuzzy when people see junk and think of me?!

But the more I accumulate, the more I have to focus on storing these artifacts. You see, the objects have to be visible in order to remember everything I have, and I am not someone who likes chaos.  I have had to achieve a level of organized chaos in the studio that allows me to see as many items as possible and feel inspired by my surroundings. 


Yes, working without these objects would be easier in some ways. Combining porcelain and mixed media to create a seamless and cohesive story is not without its share of complications and frustrations.  But it drives me, inspires is my passion!