Works in progress

Here’s a glimpse into some of the new figurative work I’m exploring. The first is a paper clay form. Here it is in the sculpting stage:

Here it is, brushed with underglaze and ready to be loaded into the gas kiln for the final firing:

The second piece is stoneware with porcelain glazing and porcelain winged forms around the head. This one is still in the greenware stage. The wax circles on the cheeks allowed the stoneware to show through in those areas when I was applying the porcelain glazing.

Exploring figurative content is feeling rewarding and so challenging!

: debra :

Collaboration with Suzanne Stumpf.


These pieces are the result of a collaboration with Suzanne Stumpf, a ceramic artist from Natick (and former Mudflat artist). This collaboration began when Suzanne gave me a piece in the greenware state that she made with a combination of porcelain and paper clay. I added a grog-filled dark stoneware sculpture body using an expansion-style joint and split the piece into two. Then I bisque-fired the pieces and returned them to Suzanne to alter in the bisque state, glaze, and fire to cone 10 in her new electric kiln.

I find it interesting that these pieces have no ‘bottom’. They can rest on a surface in several orientations. Each orientation seems to express a different mood:

It was great fun surprising one another with our choices. We are looking forward to another collaboration, this time in reverse — I’ll start by giving Suzanne a greenware piece, she’ll add to it and bisque it, then I’ll glaze it. Look for the results here, and check out Suzanne’s work at www.ceramicsatthebarn.com

: debra :

First days at Mudflat!

Debra Fleury sketches and inspiration

Debra Fleury and Angela Cunningham Celebrate

It is official. I moved into my artist residency studio on September first. Corks were popped. Sketches got pinned up, bags of clay opened, and the shelves have already started to fill up.

My first month goal is to make as much work as I can, as quickly as possible. Working with nothing but speed and volume as the goals has been liberating and instructive. I’m honing my intuitive relationship with the clay, perfecting the dance, and discovering new forms.

IMG_6333

Part of the rush to make is that I’m adding terra cotta to my repertoire and I need to get a feel for this clay body as quickly as possible.

At first I felt very disappointed with this body. It feels so lifeless to me. I’ve worked with only about 100 pounds so far, but I’m finally noticing that it does have something special to offer to my process and I am looking forward to working with a new glaze palette.

Stay tuned. I’ll share some of the results here.

: debra :

Out.

dsc_0297

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

dsc_0270

Time stops.

dsc_0398

dsc_0374

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.

dsc_0207

The sun feels precious.

dsc_0258

Everything seems remarkable.

: debra :

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

The closed door.

flock_process

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 :

Moon Cherry?

img_2125.jpg

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 :

The love rock.

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 :

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 :