Saturday, April 30, 2016

A Walk in the Sculpture Garden

 Here I am tucked behind Rodin's sculpture " L'homme qui Marche," in a place I once held dear. This is the Franklin Murphy Sculpture Garden at my alma mater, UCLA. On a recent  trip to California, I wanted to show friends  the site where I used to hang out.
This garden, started in 1967, is named after the  university chancellor of that time, which was when I transferred to this school.  My diploma hangs on my wall, signed by the then governor, Ronald Reagan. Covering five acres of grass and trees, there are more than 70 sculptures by  world known  artists. I had never been able to lay my hands on a Henry Moore before then. The library, art, and history buildings were all up in that area.This was  where I spent a lot of my time.
There is still an outdoor eating terrace, with tables and chairs to while away endless hours. Called the Gypsy Wagon when I went to school, formerly  there were trailers that served the junk food, the coffee, we all needed to be better students. Plus it was a fun place to practice Flirting 101.The tables are still there, but today the food is in vending machines.How can you get your french fires from a vending machine? 
You could take your food up to the gardens and lie on the grass, or sit on the low cement  walls. The design of the garden is a piece of work unto itself.
  I remember a sense of awe and excitement to see  in person what I had only viewed previously in my art books. Even today, it is a respite of peace in a busy place. It is on campus, but open to the public. A worthwhile visit.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Porcelain Buttons

Cobalt blue, porcelain buttons. Who knew what this ceramic artist could come up with to fill my kiln?
 I am a bead maker.These are transformed  into jewelry. It wasn't a far step to see my rolled out textured slab cut into different round shapes. These were created to sell at the Jerome Artists' Cooperative, where I show my ceramics.
Buttons have been around as long as clothing. Since prehistory, people have made them from stone, shell, horn, and yes, ceramics.From the crusades, the art of buttons were imported from the near east. Mostly it was the men who used them, to fasten their sleeves, their jackets.By the mid 1800s , the industrial revolution made them available to the masses. Queen Victoria always had her jet black buttons.
There has always been a market for the original, hand made style of this fastener. They work well on knit fabrics, shawls and sweaters,and serve  to individualize clothing. Mine fall into this category. No matter how I would like to standardize, each shape I create is hand carved, hence original. Each texture is similar, but how the stains apply has a  personality.
 I use three colors made from oxides: a cobalt blue;brown from iron oxide, and a soft green, from chrome. These are high fired and will stay on forever. I have done my product testing, and use them in the washing machine without breakage. The rough and tumble of the dryer is against my written  advice.
I mount my buttons on a hand lettered display cards. They are little pieces of art, in case it takes you a while to  get around to sewing!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Raven Platter

I have seen the Ravens flying in the sky  above Sedona this spring. Here,  I guess they are hanging around on my sky blue platter that recently came out of the kiln.
The Common raven, Corvus corax, are  large birds, some  24 inches in length.Young birds may travel in flocks, but later mate for life. It is no accident I chose to draw this twosome. Intelligent birds, they have long been a part of folklore in many countries. I remember seeing ravens on the top of many totem poles in Alaska, held in high regard by native tribes. They have shiny black feathers, with a wedge shaped long tail and bill.
 Creating an exact replica is challenging with clay. I must first carve the silhouettes, before adding the glaze. Four coats of "painting within the lines"...  difficult. I chose the pale blue background to evoke the natural background in which we see these creatures. However it is not uncommon to see them resting on a branch, and this is my representation here. 
As with all my " critter pots" I am hoping  to evoke   feelings, and connection to these creatures, as they perch on my  ceramic platter.