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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.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Wishing Woman

Shortly after moving from Los Angeles to New Mexico,  I was feeling very artistically stagnant. My ceramic equipment was still packed nearly two years after the move. This was the first time in 14 years where I couldn't seem to draw on any inspiration.

Then, one day, I was flipping through the local paper and two things caught my attention. The first was a fifty percent off Michael's Art Store coupon. The second was a call for artists to submit a post-card size painting to the New Mexico Women's Foundation Fund Raiser.

It had been ten years since I did any painting and it was not my best medium. I was hesitant about entering since the gallery sponsoring the show was in Santa Fe.  I wanted to introduce myself and get my foot in the door to galleries in New Mexico, but I wanted it to be with my stronger medium.

With the deadline fast approaching and no imminent inspiration, I almost decided not to enter.  Even the theme :"Wishing you were here" felt so intimidating to me at that point.

I tried various sketches but nothing was panning out to the quality I wanted to enter. In my frustration, in the middle of ripping up the sketches, I saw a flash of image of a colorful painted woman. I quickly began to sketch the image of what I had seen.

It was a simple image with a certain purity and power emanating from it. I quickly kept sketching until my sketches matched exactly what I had seen in my vision.

Painting the sketches was a little more challenging. I had used acrylic paint, instead of oil, my preferred paint, for fast drying since I only had a few days to submit.

When the deadline came, I had a finished one that I felt good enough to submit.

A new series had emerged: "Wishing Woman"

As my caption reads on my website:  "Wishing Woman" captures the "Magical Spirit" of the realm of wishing, the time between "believing" and "receiving" what your heart desires.

Although this series will be a limited edition, it certainly had unlimited possibilities. I'm currently working on a ceramic series of it, too.

If you like more information or would like to see other paintings, please visit my Etsy site: Vyktoryas.etsy.com

Friday, April 13, 2012

When You Don't First Succeed....Try, Try, Again...

Out of all the mediums, I believe clay is the most challenging one of them all. In it's infancy, is an easy, moldable medium that submits to the hands of the creator. But even after it's formed, there's always this "clay consciousness" undercurrent where it seems to try to go back to the undefined, original state. Each step is a trial to keep it's progress in the direction you'd like to take it. Sometimes, even the slightest external factor will undermine the progress and interfer with the final outcome of it.
Each piece shown in the above picture has had it's set-backs. The Eve Teapot-- I'm on the fifth attempt to have a nicely securing lid. The Eve Closed Form-- cracked, even before I had done much with it and had to work a different design. The Wishing Woman Tile--- succumbed a sleeping cat, while drying it on a window seal.
But with each obstacle, comes a new inspiration. 
Soon, it's "onward and upward" for these creations---and into the fire for the next level of completion.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

EVE-O-LUTION: The Next Level

The New Eve Series: "Eve-o-lution" is the combination of  some of the design elements from the prior Eve and the Naked Clay designs all merged into a synergistic story telling sculpture. This piece is constructed from both wheel-thrown and hand-built components.

This is first of many of the hybrid designs-  currently in the works.

More photos to come as the steps and stages are finalized and become a finished creation.