Wednesday, 16 May 2012

CERAMICS 9. - 'Grass and Blood'

For the next project I took an inspiration from artwork of ceramists that I admire. The first image shows artwork by Tim Andrews, the second shows artwork by Judith Duff and the third image shows artwork made by my favorite artist: Rafael Perez.

My idea was to create a piece that would correspondent with my previous projects dealing with a theme of war conflicts and their consequences on human lives. This artwork is supposed to remind us of horrific outcomes of war in more subtle way, where the only reminder of a recent conflict are few stains of blood on the ends of grass blades.
First I made a sketch of my idea, where the flat basket holds bundle of grass:

For this piece I decided to use an air dry clay and try its possibilities. I went for Fimo Natural, which is made of 95% natural ingredients and it is recommended for its strength when dried completely.
The following images show the process of making. First I processed the clay together with white send through pasta maker. This gave the clay nice consistency and made it easy to use. Then I used white and black clay together to create beads for the base of the basket. I used the same clay to create the grass blades, half white and half black. I let all the blades and beads dry and preserved them with a thin coat of matt varnish (varnish for artists to protect finished oil paintings). After they were dried I applied red nail polish on the ends of few grass blades:

These images show a wire I used to create the structure of the basket and also show the basket after I weaved the beads together with a thin wire into its base:

My initial idea was to use a lot of 'grass' but due to lack of time I only made few blades. Still I think the piece works.
This is an image of the piece after the grass blades tied together with a natural cord and after the card was use to cover the baskets handle:

I was quite pleased with the outcome. I found this type of air dry clay easy to use and it also has a nice natural look. I think the sand helped its strength and also gave the material good, slightly rugged feel.

Just like the ceramic clay I also see air dry clay as another sculptural medium, without the thinking primarily about its functionality and durability. I do not concentrate on perfect finishing; the subject matter of the artwork is the most important to me. The material itself engages in the theme, and has the definitive say in the finished piece.

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