At the end of a dead-end street, right next to a roaring highway and a grocery store parking lot, there is a bench where no one sits. Behind the bench are three ordinary little trees that bear this curious fruit in the fall. Each is shaped, sized, and stemmed like a cherry — but they are a toxic-looking red with spiky protrusions.
On my way to the studio in the fall, I often find myself veering down this street to see if any have fallen. The juxtaposition of the familiar and the alien is fascinating to me.
: debra :
Blue and chartreuse underglazes were applied to the porcelain greenware in a gradation from light to dark. Most of the chartreuse burned out, but what didn’t made the blue a little warmer.
After bisque, I applied clear glaze and waxed the dots. After the wax dried, I dipped the entire piece in spodumene glaze. The spodumene blushed pink and orange in places.
Viola! Alien skin.
A few of the artists around the studio joke around about ‘cheesing’ on one another. Artists are influenced by their experiences, and part of that experience is the work of other artists. We can’t help being influenced by one another.
All the great movements in art were picked up and stretched by an informal collaborative of artists playing with similar ideas, building on one another’s work. Seeing other’s art helps me to see more clearly the possibilities for my own work — even if the style or the medium is completely different from mine.
I recently attended a surfaces workshop with Adero Willard at Mudflat Studio. She is completing the Salad Days Artist Residency at Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts. After these workshops, the shelves are invariably filled with riffs on the visiting artist’s work. You can walk by the shelves and say to yourself, ‘Looks like XYZ artist has been in town!’. Sometimes to integrate a technique or idea, we must first try it out the way we saw it before we can make it our own.
This piece is my ‘Adero’ piece. Those familiar with her work will recognize the influence, although the form itself is not an Adero-style form. So Adero, if you’re reading this — here is my homage piece to you, as yet unglazed. Check back here for the result, and thanks for a great workshop.
If you want to see some authentic pieces from Adero Willard, as only she can do them, go to www.watershedceramics.org. Or better yet, go to the Salad Days benefit and take one home with you!
: debra :
My husband and I joke about the day ‘the love rock’ hit us. It was a moment before we were dating, when each of us realized that we were very intrigued by one another. It was high romance after that.
This little pinch pot is my clay ‘love rock’, which hit me a couple of months into my first clay class. It showed me that clay is the right medium for me.
But it didn’t start out that way.
I was very disappointed when it came out of the glaze kiln. It looked so different from the vision I had in my head. When I was finally able to see the piece objectively, I saw that it was much better than what I had imagined. The interaction of heat, glaze, and clay had informed my vision. The collaboration between control and happenstance had produced a much more interesting piece.
That is the power of this medium for me.
: debra :