17 January 2007

working in the arctic

Okay, so I lied about the temperature of my studio in my last post...it has actually been 47 degrees in there. I finally broke down and turned on my kiln (with out firing anything) to help cut the cold. My fingers get really mad at me when I work in the cold. They swell and my knuckles ache and well it can't be good for me. Who says I don't suffer for my Art ;)

I am posting this preliminary drawing, with some trepidation, of a piece I am about to start. My intention is to have it be two 17" platters, side by side, to make one unit. I was taught in school, that drawings should always accompany the work. Which when making in ceramics, is not always the first inclination. One usually just wants to go straight to work with the clay. The habit was instilled in me and I am thankful for it.

I started the drawing with many ideas and had put in many elements, my usual flowers, etc. and then erased them as I felt they detracted from the piece. I also felt I was leaning too heavily on what I know works and I was not pushing myself. I was using that imagery as a crutch. When I removed all the extra embellishments from the drawing I realised that the simplicity and starkness (the feeling) of the drawing was what I wanted to convey with the the piece. So I have left in unadorned. Now to attempt it with the clay. A completely different challenge. I have anticipatory concerns about what could happen once I start trying to execute the piece. One of my concerns is that it will look trite, contrived, that the medium will scream utility and the sense of the piece will be lost. My gut feeling is that it can work though. The utility aspect is good and sincerely nothing to be ashamed of and can be exploited but needs to be done in a subtle manner. Ahh yes, subtlety, such a difficult thing to achieve in Art. To know when (and how) to be loud by being quiet. I am liking
this challenge and really enjoying thinking about my work in this way. Don't worry, the pretty flowers and other pieces are still happening while I am working away on these more serious pieces. More on that later...for now I am letting myself be inspired by the arctic temperatures of my studio.


twirlgirl said...

I can really relate to what you are expressing, Diana. The hardest part of making a great piece is often knowing when to stop. Leaving space, when we have such a wealth of ideas and images takes such self-control! I love the polar bear and adore the way you are playing with the negative and positive space in the shadows/footprints. I'm excited to see it transformed onto the clay! I'm a fan of your work and this blog. Thanks for sharing your process, it's really inspiring for me as an artist an a newbie blogger. Saty warm! :)

lisa s said...

ah yes... loud, quiet, meaty, organic.... when to start, stop, include exclude... the struggle.

you are really onto something with these diana. can't wait to see how they unfold!

Listoria said...

Oh for 47 degree temps! It was -2 yesterday morning when I walked the dog, with a wind chill factor to make it feel like -19 (winter finally came to Maine - ugh). But I understand that for SF, that's cold! So I can commiserate with you on the freezing temps.

I'm sending you thoughts of crackling wood fires and cozy thick quilts to warm you up,


susan said...

the cold met us finally this week too diana. cold is not good for those talented fingers of yours.
nice to hear about your process though. in or out add or subtract. you seem to have something very special going up there.
cant wait to see how it unfolds.stay warm!

one black bird said...

i am really liking the negative positive space aspect too twirlgirl. interesting how you see the shapes under the feet as shadows...i was thinking breaking ice. thanks for stopping by :)

i am channeling you lisa s. while making these pieces. you are natural when it comes to being loud by being quiet. thanks for you encouraging words.

listoria,brrrr, that IS cold. i know our temperatures do not compare to yours...but the difference here is when it gets cold outside it means it is cold inside too. in the east you folks at least heat your houses/spaces. it has been 47 degrees inside my studio. outside it was below freezing. would love a crackling fire in my studio. i'd never leave then ;)

hi susan! yeah, i was starting to wonder about you all in the northeast and the warm temps. maybe now you will get some real north east weather. hope it does not hit you too hard. i know the cold/hand issue is not good. doing my best to stay warm.

lisa said...

more polar bears!!!

JosieJurczenia said...

Love the bears -an interesting new direstion. What do the numbers represent? I like the graghic presence.

one black bird said...

lisa, the polar bears are on their way ;)

josie the numbers represent the miles/kilometers that the bears are having to swim from ice break to ice break. apparently all the ice is melting and the distances are getting longer. the bears are drowning because of the long distances between the ice breaks..

jenofthenorth said...

your new iconography is brilliant!