Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Feathered Mystery


Inspiration comes in many ways. In these dark and cold winter days, a sale can light up an artist's creative spirit. So it was for me. I recently sold two masks at the Wyatt gallery, here in Sedona, AZ, where I live and work. I  realized it was time to complete  this large  "Feathered Mystery." It  spans some eight inches wide by 20 inches  to the tip of its feathers.                                                    
    I'm not sure people realize all the processes involved in  a complicated creation such as this . First comes the raw clay to form my  dimensional  concept. I usually work in series, so this has some relationship to previous masks of this size and style. I have to think ahead to what will be  the final effect and colors.. Fortunately,  I own feathers of exotic birds that a dear friend of mine with an aviary sends my way. Birds naturally molt, so there is no harm to any creature,                                                                                   Clay is at its most fragile when just dried. Lots of clean up, and sanding is necessary, and it's tricky handling such a large size Next the colors are applied. I do use premade low fired glazes since they wear so well and fire so brightly. Then it goes into the kiln to about 1800 degrees. It will come out strong  enough to go into its last firing. This is a  primitive firing, using natural combustibles. Potters have been using this style forever. Everything turns dark, so it must be cleaned up to show off the decorative  colors.

I have a very reliable way to hang these creatures. Copper wire wrapped in yarns to accentuate and soften the hangers. Finally the feathers. Here I also added some turquoise and coral in among the feathers. This brings up the innovative side of my brain. Lots of hours, days, even weeks to finally complete. Just wanted to spread a little insight into my creative process. Comments?

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