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Thursday, August 3, 2017

Wonderland Eve Teapot at the Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts-2017 ACS-DC President's Show



 Vyktroya Andersen - Wonderland Eve Teapot



In every artist's career comes a time when the artist needs to experiment and deviate from their successful body of work. It's a risk worth taking. Although it tends to turn the heads of followers and patrons at times, it stimulating for the artist's inner self.

My ceramics professor in college, during one of my class critiques, asked me, "Are you going to ever leave beginner stage?"

He was an arrogant type. His question was not to inspire me to progress my work. It was intended to be a put-down.  I didn't want to feed his quest. I paused and looked around at my peers who were all waiting for my answer too. They had sympathetic looks on their faces and glad they were not in my situation.

"Never! In the beginner stage, everything is new. I don't want to loose the "newness" that fuels my creativity."

My defiant reply caused a gasp from around the room and silence from my professor. He moved on to the next student's work, without saying a word to me.

Not too long after that encounter, I noticed some unusual activity coming from the kiln area. To my surprise, my professor had set up a secret throwing area, complete with a wheel and wedging table, hidden behind thousands of pounds of clay. On his wheel,  was a bigger version of my vase he had critiqued. This beginner had struck a nerve of truth within him.  He had taught ceramics for nearly 30 years, but had stopped creating any body of works of his own in the last 10 years of his career.

The Wonderland Eve series is about experimenting with parts of other successful series and merging all them all together to see what the synergy is. With it, an incorporation of the Eve sculpture, the spirals of the Harmony Vases, and colored slips and Mason Stains of the Prehistoric series, all arranged in a traditional teapot form.

This piece is currently on display for sale at the Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts in Ojai, CA until August 19th 2017.

Low fired ceramic with mason stain
7" h x 8.5" w x 5" d
$275.


http://www.beatricewood.com/acs_2017/andersen.html

http://www.beatricewood.com/acs_2017.html


















Friday, January 1, 2016

Re-New Years Resolution




Today is the start of the New Year for 2016. Many will make "New Years Resolutions", myself included.  However, nothing "new" will be on my list. It will be more like "renew".  I plan to reclaim all the things that excite me and put them back into my foreground instead of the background. 

In addition to reclaiming things that excite me, I'm also ridding things that don't give enough return on my self-investment that produce too much aggravation that outweigh benefit of it of keeping it. One of those things is my "Corporate America" job with a "steady paycheck".  After living with "feast or famine" finances as a self-employed person, it was nice to have a steady cash flow for awhile so I didn't have to live on a "money roller coaster" every month. 

But the world has changed so much in the last few years, I don't even recognize it anymore. There's such pressure to be "homogenized" with no regards or respect for being authentic and unique.  Opinions and people's perspectives are the "new norms" regardless if they are fact or truth based, without checking what the motives might be for expressing them or bashing someone, unjustly. Corporate America is one of the major places that forces you into an "unnatural conformity" that goes against anything individual. 

I feel like I need to "hold the line" as there are so few who can sustain from being crushed by a culture that says they want "heros", and cheer for them in the movies, but really don't. Because with real life heros, they force people to evaluate themselves to change to help support the "hero's cause". But when they realize it's a lot of work, they'll try to force the hero into "conformity" since it's easier to convince someone else to a status quo, then change themselves. As one person quoted, "I'm fat, happy, and content".  That clearly is the "mantra of the masses" these days.

This year, I'm reclaiming all that I had to sacrifice for steady money: individualism, creative thinking, doing things on my own timeline, self-respect, unrelenting boldness to speak without fear. Whether people realize it or not- we now live in a society of fear and it has nothing to do with terrorism.  That fear is "other people's opinion". 

My mother had always stressed to take "people's opinions with a grain of salt". In the sea of vast wastelands of feedback, they still hold true for me forty years later.

As a beginning artist in college, there was always a level of insecurity around those where more experienced in the medium. But thankfully, my mother's words were echoing as I got a taste of my first experience that made them ring "loud and clear".  During one winter break, I was experimenting with free-form shapes and glazing in a ceramics class through the Student Union. I called these free-form candlesticks, "Clogs". I was thrilled with my results and couldn't wait to do another batch when normal classes resumed through the university again. I made them at home and when they were dried I brought them into to be fired. My enthusiasm was met with resistance from the lab assistant, who was also a student that taught for her master's degree and ran the lab. According to her, "they're not even worthy of wasting gas."  Needless to say, she wouldn't fire them. So I brought them back to the Student Union that fired the original ones with no problem. 

Her opinion was considered "gospel" to most in the ceramics class. But not me. Her nasty comments  hinted an "undercurrent" that I couldn't prove. Had I listened to her and BELIEVED her feedback which everyone else did- I would have missed the opportunity to make lots of money. These "Clogs" were a hot seller not only at the university sales at the Student Union, home sales, but also in upscale retail boutiques that had my work on consignment.

One day in the ceramics class, one of the other students approached me to inquire about my Clogs she saw drying on a rack in one of the interior rooms. It was a surprise to me since I hadn't been allowed to fire them in the class kilns. Even though I told her my story and why they couldn't be mine,  she insisted on showing them to me. When I pulled back the drying plastic to look at them, it revealed the name of the maker of my "imitation clogs".  It was the lab assistant's! She had produced similar ones even though she bashed mine. 

My "Clog Candlestick Holders" are a great reminder to have faith in yourself, even though the world tells you something different.

I hope my story has inspired you to take more risks in your creative journey...and listen to people less. 

You can purchase these Clogs at my Etsy Store:   vyktoryas - Etsy







Sunday, October 4, 2015

Balloon Fiesta-Limited Editions



Occasionally, I'll venture out and try something new. My latest is Hot Air Balloons.  After a "off site venture" with my "9 to 5" job, I developed a new interest in Hot Air Balloons painting. Hot Air Balloons are  a big part of Albuquerque history that never really interested me, until recently.

A few years ago, I did enjoy photographing them as they flew over our house.



The hot air shape allows for great exploration. More to follow.

The limited edition series can be purchased at The Antique Connection, Albuquerque.

The 12" x 12" acrylic on canvas painting, " Midnight Moon & Balloons" featured in this post is $45.




Sunday, August 9, 2015

"Celestial Eve"-ACS-DC President's Show at the Beatrice Wood Center of the Arts Entry


We are a collective of what we have experienced. Art is the best example of that. After having marginal success with my "naked clay" series, I decided to explore some new techniques and forms. I had attended a few workshops  but nothing really felt like it was something I could work with comfortably. Slab and coil had never worked well for my impatience and vision. 

In my frustration one day I went on a wild whirlwind of making my traditional closed form orbs in all shapes in sizes to see if something would manifest. It did. I had some sketches for my "Genesis Series". I dug them out and studied them to see if I could line up concepts. A few weeks before I had taken a Scott Young workshop. His female torsos had some similarity to my Genesis Eve sketches. Although he constructed his female forms with cylinders, I wanted to construct mine with my closed forms. With a few unsuccessful tries, I finally achieved a winning design that merged vision and form exactly where I wanted it.

"Celestial Eve" was part of the earlier sculptures in the series. It was made with Soldner Clay from a workshop by legendary ceramic artist Paul Soldner.

It recently was accepted into the American Ceramic Society's Design Chapter President's Show at the Beatrice Wood Center of the Arts.

It has been sold.

For more information on purchasing others, please contact me at either one of my Etsy Stores:

vyktoryas - Etsy

 TheNudeNook-Etsy

.


Sunday, October 5, 2014

First Firing


First firing is always magical. That means your creations have made it through the conception, development, and shaping process and it's ready to be put through the trial by fire to see how well it all holds.

This is the initial step to convert the wet piece of silica, brittle and fragile when dried, to a more permanent vessel. Silica converts to glass, also known as "quartz conversion" happens around 1100 degrees Celsius.

Once this phase is completed, the creation can be glazed and fired to higher temperatures, depending on the Cone value of the clay used.

After I prepare the bisque-ware, I will share the next step of the process. Some will be glazed. Some will be pit-fired. Some may have them all done.

Stay tuned...

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Teapots

Early on in my ceramics journey, someone once said me-"If you want to be successful in ceramics, you better sell teapots."








Thankfully, I take most well-meaning advice "with a grain of salt."

After the first year of doing my "Naked Clay" series,  I began to feel a little stagnant. I wanted to work on something along the lines to maintain the series, but to challenge it and see what other designs might complement it, as well.

 The teapot advice came to mind.

I had never attempted a teapot before.

I wanted to construct one by staying with shapes I was currently working with: orb, vase, and twig forms, along with my traditional spirals and Blue Engobe.

After several unsuccessful marriages of those components, I finally was able to merge them and created  two teapots:

"Exponential Teapot I & Exponential Teapot II"

The following year, they were exhibited in a group show at the Brand Library in Glendale, CA.

Exponential Teapot II sold at opening night. Later I found out, the buyer was a well-known teapot collector, with over 2000 teapots in the collection.

The sale was bitter-sweet for me. On one hand, in addition to catching the attention of a prominent collector, it was the fastest I've ever sold an item and the most money for one. But on the other hand, I missed my teapot. To me, it wasn't just a ceramic piece-- it was unison journey of function and vision--synergized  perfectly together.

I've kept my Exponential Teapot I with me, out of any further exhibitions, until now-17 years later.

I'm hoping the new owner will enjoy it and appreciate the journey of its creation, as much as I did.

You can find it at my Etsy site:

vyktoryas - Etsy





Friday, June 22, 2012

Early Work: Genesis Metamorphasis


Hand building ceramics was not my first choice of technique for constructing my pieces. It required varying levels of "stopping and waiting" so the next working staging could take place. If you tried to work it when it was too wet still, it would collapse. If you waited too long, it would dry out and you wouldn't be able to  do anything further with it.

I was experimenting with wheel thrown and altered shaping and I really like that "cracked open" design. I wanted to do bigger versions of "pods", but back then, I wasn't skilled enough to get my wheel thrown pieces to a larger size that I was hoping for; The 12"-14" range. I was stuck at the 4"-6' ones that couldn't provide the presence I wanted.

I reluctantly hand built it. When completed, it was the size I had envisioned it to be. This piece took over a month to construct and another month to dry completely. I was planning to glaze it with the copper-based, patina green ones that I had done with the other smaller pieces. But when I was approached by one of the intermediate ceramic teachers from the class who was planning on doing a Raku firing, I decided to give that a try. Up until then, I had only heard of Raku but had never tried it.

On Raku day, when he saw me show up with my "big piece", he was a little reluctant.  He was expecting my "little pieces" he knew I normally made.  He had never done a Raku on a completely round, big piece before.

Firing big items by Raku is not only challenging but dangerous too. It requires pulling a glowing hot piece with temperatures around 2000 degrees, out of a kiln, held with a pair of long tongs and plunging it into combustable materials (leaves, newspaper)  and then dunked into water to cool. Special goggles have to be worn to protect the corneas of your eyes and fire proof gloves to protect hands and forearms from getting burnt.

He advised me that it could break from where the tongs needed to be placed, in the cracked open area. My response: "I've come too far to quit now. Fire up that BBQ!"

It safely made it through the "process of extremes" and was selected into a juried show the following year.

Although I've never made any more of these big-size creations, the found memories of the process and the desire to keep "pushing my boundaries" have been a guiding path with other things.