Archive for the ‘inspiration’ Category

Installation at Charles Rose Architects

March 27, 2013

Hello! This is an exciting time in the studio. I am working to finish a large group of clay objects that will be installed at Charles Rose Architects near Davis Square at the end of the month. The building has a clerestory running the length of the office and the pieces will be suspended in the air underneath.

This is the most ambitious project that I’ve taken on to date and I am learning so much every day. Each step I take pushes my boundaries as an artist and forces me to learn something new, or causes me to consider new resources. The biggest breakthrough has been asking for the support of my community of family, friends, students and other artists. I’m typically the self-reliant, John Wayne type of artist, but this project has forced me to think in new ways about what a community can bring to artistic expression.

The biggest surprise? Community brings SO MUCH. A group of individuals working together to make something inspirational results in something greater than the individual can achieve. My final result is not manifest, yet, but I see the signs. Something special is in the air for this project.

53 individual artists, family, friends, supporters, children and students made 9,520 of the individual ‘quill’ forms over two days. Here we are:

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Here are some examples of the beautiful quill forms that we made together:

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It was such an honor to work with these forms and so inspiring to notice the myriad individual styles. Here are some of the forms going into the first of many, many kilns:

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Here are some of the individual pieces, after the cone 6 reduction firing (melty and delicious!):

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Here is a little hanging mockup that I constructed in my studio. The final installation will evolve on site at the architects office.

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Please mark your calendar and attend the opening on May 11th at Charles Rose Architects in Somerville, MA to see how this all turns out.

I’ll be excited to see you there!

:  debra  :

Summer dreams.

December 24, 2012

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tree denver botanic garden

bamboo sculptures denver botanic

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Inspiration from my trip to the Denver Botanic Garden this past July (above) and from Mt. Evans (below).

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Enjoy!

: debra :

Inspiration

July 18, 2012

 

 

Denver Botanic Gardens

: debra :

Beyond the Brickyard exhibition.

February 5, 2012

I just returned from a whirlwind weekend in Montana, celebrating the opening of the 4th annual Beyond the Brickyard exhibition at the Archie Bray Foundation. The exhibition was juried by Richard Shaw this year. The show is situated in the North Gallery and runs through April 7th.

The artists and staff at the Bray were very welcoming, especially Emily Free Wilson. I spent a few hours during the day walking the grounds and taking in the sights. Ceramic art is nestled into nearly every nook and cranny, transforming a simple walk into a fun adventure. Below is a small taste of the hundreds of photos I took while exploring the grounds:

:  debra  :

Wall play.

July 2, 2011

On a sunny afternoon . . .

: debra :

The joy of sketching.

April 24, 2011

I’m working in my home studio. Our house is on a hill, so my studio feels like a tree house to me. The light is streaming in. I’m sketching up a storm and listening to the Wood Brothers. Today is all about possibilities and dreaming. I hope you are dreaming, too.

: debra :

Ahhh! Salad days at Watershed.

July 16, 2010

I headed up to Newcastle Maine last weekend to attend one of my favorite fundraisers — the Salad Days Benefit at Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts.

If you haven’t made the trek up there, it is well worth it. Every year a resident artist makes 500 plates over three months, which seems like quite a frenzy of plate making to me. Each attendee gets a plate, delicious salads to enjoy off of that plate, music, and more — all set outdoors on the bucolic Watershed grounds. For dessert, there is usually a show of ceramic work at one of the local galleries in the afternoon. This year’s show was at George Mason’s lovely home gallery, featuring his innovative work and that of past Watershed artists.

This year’s plates were made by Sean O’Connell and they were quite lovely. It was difficult to choose which was the most beautiful, but I’m pretty sure I got the one!

(My husband got the second most beautiful one, but i’ll share.)

: debra :

Out.

February 6, 2009

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Ever spend several hours alone in the woods, on a winter day?

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Time stops.

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The clacking of dry leaves in sleeping trees is the loudest sound you’ll hear — unless the stream finds an opening, or the odd woodpecker happens to be flitting around.

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The sun feels precious.

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Everything seems remarkable.

: debra :

Pieces from the ‘Flock’ series. Photography: Debra Fleury.

The closed door.

January 9, 2009

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A friend of mine very kindly offered me the use of her private studio for two weeks, while she was away on holiday.

I was mad with excitement. For the first time in my clay experience I was going to be able to work behind a closed door, alone with my sketches and my thoughts. When the time came I spent every moment I could behind that door, making the same form over and over again.

What happened was magical. My thinking sharpened. I forgot myself for hours at a time, completely engrossed in the making. Soon I was surrounded by work, which was informing the work in my hands. Nothing was in the way of the process.

Two weeks and 202 pieces later I feel like I grew a dog’s year as an artist. I gained tremendous insight into my creative process and the ways of working that will feed it best.

And yes, there is definitely a closed door in my future.

: debra :

Beth Cavener Stichter workshop.

December 22, 2008

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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.

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: debra :

Moon Cherry?

March 22, 2008

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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 :

‘Cheesing’ on Adero.

March 3, 2008

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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 :

The love rock.

March 2, 2008

Dinosaur Pinchpot

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 :

: f l e u r y b l u e :

February 25, 2008

everything seems possible

What inspires you? Tapping out a rhythm, choosing a color, writing a poem, running as fast as you can across a field — digging into some juicy clay?

I can tell when I’m inspired. The moment feels electric with possibilities and I lose the sense of time passing. That’s the ‘fleuryblue’ — that wide open space full of creative possibilities and interesting connections. But it is nothing unique. Everyone has their own special ‘fleuryblue’ to go to.

I laugh really hard when someone tells me they can’t hula hoop with these gargantuan hoops we’ve got. I laugh because I get to prove to them that not only can they do it, but it will be easy for them. Once they open the door (even just a little bit) the little kid inside of them comes running out and takes right over. Kids live in the fleuryblue. Watch them some time — they get it.

: debra :