A Good Start!

Welcome back folks!  One week in the books of another unorthodox semester.  As I mentioned last week, I get overwhelmed quickly by the hybrid class system but I’m working to keep myself organized and on top of things.

This week had me breaking in skills that, despite my best efforts, still feel rusty after the break.  In my storyboarding class, I had an almost comical reminder that I am not a particularly skilled graphic designer; I’m optimistic despite the lack of supporting evidence (see adorable peanut blob below) and in my painting class, I’m reminded that I am not a naturally gifted painter as even the most straightforward task seems daunting.

Tumnus Moran Digital Doodles from Storyboarding

Another skill I learned I have not begun to hone is sketching for three-dimensional projects.  I did start to sketch considering some recent inspiration.

Last week I talked about Toshiko Takaezu and Don Reitz.  They made me think about my work as it stands (clean, sterile, careful but generally unadorned by texture) and where I feel my expression can take me (the deconstruction of geometric forms that is emotive and almost wrong).  I began to sketch with a few things in mind- that deconstruction, what structure means to my expression of myself, and how the effort to mimic a technique may lead me thematically to a different form.

The more I tried to look at each piece of art for its components rather than its whole, the more my brain focused on the word façade.  I love the visual impact of the Raku firing; the ashen black clay left behind is stunning but incredibly unique to the process.  Anything I would come up with on my own (in the near future) would be an approximation.  But that may be an opportunity to let my form be molded by my concept.

Below are sketches of pieces that I would like to explore.  They would be just shy of purely decorative; pretty but with a frustrating sense of uselessness.  If I were super industriative they could potentially hold a plant (which may be a beautiful echo of their vague fertility goddess vibe) but they would serve simply as a means of personal expression.  For me, there’s a mental trap in beginning to study ceramics that all ones work must be functional, so I want to challenge myself to make pieces that are just frustratingly unfunctional.

In a complete departure from functionality and in a deeper dive into the word façade, I started to sketch a mixed media piece that would feature a large ceramic bust that almost melts into a tangle of metal and wires and cables.  I like working with faces and want to utilize the space behind a non-functional mask.  It would be fun for me to experiment with a figure/creature that is both ancient and modern materials.

New on the List-  This week I was introduced to Magdalene Odundo.  In this video, her work can be seen throughout.  The forms are endearing and, with no disrespect meant (given the frivolity of the reference) her work here looks almost “Seussian” and whimsical. Though just out of date (the corresponding exhibit is past but the photography is beautiful!), more can be learned about this piece as well as other works by Odundo here! A video featured on the page gives context to the work in the artist’s own voice.

Magdalene Odundo Ceramic Work
A Ceramic piece by Magdalene Odundo

What’s Playing– While I don’t have a wheel in front of me, I would love nothing more than to make something while listening to this song.  The Devil Wears a Suit and Tie has an excellent pace to set oneself to.

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