31 May

I have made my first foray into a 3rd dimension!

(I know. Most people live in 3 dimensions, but not me. Don’t even get me started on the 4th.)

This medium of porcelain is also a first for me, a rare step outside of wood panels and glazed oil paint… though I couldn’t resist indulging in my dearest vice and surest standby, finishing these off with fine lines of gold striping enamel. Decorative habits die hard.

I went into this experiment (learning porcelain slip casting from Peter Lutz, in a class at the Steel Yard) with one real intention; to let something unexpected happen. It’s come to my attention that some controlling and engineering gears in my brain spin a bit too fast and tend to come unmeshed, leading me to roll way ahead of myself with most of my art projects. It’s easy to become a mental time traveler, all at once hatching a concept, imagining the execution of it, and dismissing the final product as not-so-great before it’s even been started. Rigid ideas of how all things can and must turn out. I figured it was high time I let a material or a process dictate a thing or two to me, rather than the other way ’round.

I’m happy to say that my intention-to-be-less-intentional definitely bore some fruit. Admittedly I did go into the class with a pre-existing itch to cast root forms, and a large collection of the most interesting ginger roots I could find at the Whole Foods. This desire to make a series of small, fragile, organic, somewhat creepy and ambiguous root sculptures has been with me since I started drawing roots and working them into my paintings, and is not much clearer to me than those drawings were. I have no artists’ statement for the roots, although if I did maybe it would have something to do with the contrast between the unglamorous, mud-covered and utilitarian natural form of a root and the overly precious artistic elements of gold leaf, saturated colors, gloss and glaze and fragile, white china. Decor vs dirt? Gilding and grime?

Anyway, the primary thing that I had completely and utterly failed to take into account when I first got the idea of casting porcelain thingies was that they would be hollow. A finished piece of cast porcelain is thin, hard, makes a toothy, dinnerware sound when clinked against its neighboring piece, and has potentially as interesting an interior space as exterior.

Once I’d pulled a few pieces out of their plaster molds and started thinking about how to finish off their open ends, I got really exited about this interior space and started working with it intentionally, cutting parts away to create more play between inside and outside, making windows that allow light to pass in and out of the pieces. In some cases this process may have made the ginger look more like coral. In some cases it may have made it look more like some strange internal organ that human beings have already evolved out of needing. Huh.

Either way, I’m happy with the results. The finished pieces are bare porcelain on the outside, fired with glazed insides and finished with that good ol’ gold enamel around the… orifices. Precious materials to celebrate the simple perfection of spicy, woody, earthbound and growing things.

These are just a few photos…
I’ve been loading the rest to flickr and even put a few in my Etsy store.
For if I do not pass some of these on to other folks, I will need even more shelves.

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