Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Folly or Form?

I painted with oils for many years before I started with ceramic sculpture. I was used to ideas of balance, composition, color, etc. but I was also oriented more to surface than to shape. I first started ceramics hoping to play with glazes and never even gave sculpture a thought.

My first year or two were spent trying to get a surface that didn’t look manmade. I had some successes and some not-so. Most of my work was very thin tiles that I didn’t have to stress about drying or blowing up in the kiln. I was impatient with the idea of having to cover something to let it dry slowly (I still am) and anyway I liked the idea of cracks and irregularities. I was never trying to make pots or vessels. Here are some of my results:

My glaze experiment

Mission Accomplished

Paleolithic Surface Detail

They worked as individual pieces but in general they were very small and not telling any kind of a story. More like test tiles. I was trying to get to the idea of modularity and build larger pieces but the struggle was mixed. Here’s an example that my son Ben took for a wall in his new house:

Merry Tiles All in a Row

Not bad, decorative, but not as dimensional as I wanted to go. Some of the pieces I was doing were more dimensional but my colleague Sachi Akiyama was encouraging me to go further with the idea of form. It’s something that I couldn’t seem to break through!

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