|The Nude in the 21st Century|
I never thought I could draw. I've worked in 3-D, creating pieces on the potter's wheel for 40+ years. Porcelain was my medium, with curve, volume, texture, and form quietly being my means of expression. For many years, I developed my glaze splashes into my own decorative language of gestural squiggles, and those designs inhabit most of my utilitarian porcelain work. That is the style of work I am known for. But...
Five years ago, I let my interest in drawing the figure carry me to a Life- Drawing class. New realms of line, shading, shadow, and the details of the human body opened up for me. That experience blossomed into organizing my own drawing group where I hire models, and we artists share information and gentle critique. We meet to draw every other week, and I've watched my skills develop with time and practice.
From the beginning, I intended to put my drawings onto clay. Many drawing mediums would not stand up to the firing temperatures of porcelain (and I tried every ceramic medium I could find.) I was delighted to discover "Underglaze Crayons" and to learn how they could be used like charcoal.
There was one big problem, however: I could not put glaze over my drawings without smudging the images. That forced me to research new ways to fire these pieces, to use the atmospheric firing methods of Soda Firing and Wood Firing. These methods don't use any glaze, adding the gloss and the "life" to the platters after they are white-hot in the kiln. Along the way, I developed the beige and brown "slips" that responded to the atmospheric firings.
Now, I have the thrown-porcelain plates, the warm-toned slips, the drawings, and the firing method! It all came together. The pieces you see here are my latest creations. It has been a 5-year journey, and I can only wonder where this process will take me in the next 5 years.