Archive for December, 2008

Beth Cavener Stichter workshop.

December 22, 2008

bethcavenerstichter

How do you spell epiphany? I’ve been in the conceptual weeds for a couple of months — trying to find my way to forms that speak to me, and straining against my technical boundaries. My studio situation was getting me down, too. I work in a community studio, which is wonderful and challenging at the same time. So many bodies milling about and not a lot of space for reflection, no room to spread out, no place to post sketches for contemplation.

This workshop was a revelation. Beth started with little formal clay training. She forged her own way with clay, failing a lot and developing techniques that aren’t supposed to work (if you listen to clay lore). Her process is remarkable. She makes these often enormous pieces that are completely hollow when she’s finished. They start as solid masses of clay thrown onto carefully constructed armatures. The mass of clay is then cut apart and each section is hollowed until the walls are 1/4″ thick. The thin walls make for a stronger piece, because the stress is spread out over a larger surface area.

Once the hollowing is complete, she puts the form back together again. After some adjustments, the piece is often cut into a couple of sections for firing. The process continues after the firing with grinding, reassembly, cold finishing, and sometimes porcelain slip application with a refire. Amazing.

Her risk-taking, explorer attitude and self-deprecating good humor really got me fired up to get out of my own way in the studio and forge a path to my own unique creative process. Thanks for a great workshop, Beth.

Beth Cavener - at work

Here’s an image of Beth in her Washington Studio. Notice the Plastilene mockette on the far right.

Below are some images from the tile show going on at the Clay Art Center in Port Chester NY, where the workshop was held.

tileshow1

tileshow2

: debra :

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