Wednesday, June 24, 2009

New Body of Work (still play!)

Sometimes ideas are in my head for years before they come out.  Maybe they just need to brew a while, like a rich lager, or the nuances blend and soak in, like the ingredients in your favorite coleslaw dressing.

To have work at various price points, and to experiment with some new directions, I've been making small pieces.  When I do that, I also tend to be a little freer and experimental in a loose, whacky sort of way.  Like the difference between doodling on scrap paper and drawing on the expensive stuff.

I am creating a new body of work and will be making some bigger pieces.  A little scary, what with the economy, but this will feed my soul.  

I love being able to fuss and to include a lot of detail in my work.  Well, I say "love," but there is a certain amount of stress involved, since the detail work takes a lot of time and can't be rushed.  My left brain always has an idea of what I should accomplish in a given amount of time.  My right brain says, "Wouldn't it be nice to linger a while on this section?"

With the two sides of my brain doing battle like this, in my early clay days, I felt pressure and angst (as ceramics professor Mike Sanford correctly described it).  Still, I had fun, in a manic, tortured sort of way.

Here is a product of those times.   I am very proud of her.

Harried Possum--fun under pressure.  When I was working B.S. (that's Before Studio!), in the garage, with no temperature control and poor lighting, I gave myself 3 weeks to create this piece.  Problem was, my scientist-self kept researching possum anatomy and I nearly drove myself crazy.  (I know it's "opossum," but saying that takes so much more effort!)  Finally decided to stop looking at pictures and have some fun.  So here is a slightly anthropomorphic Mama Possum with her "To the Moon!" fist, as her babies skittle all over her back (if that's not a word, it should be).  I made their feet large, figuring that's what she must have felt--all those little claws digging in her back and toes pulling her hair.  (If you do the math, that's a lot of toes!)

Every component was built hollow.  Note that the possum and log are both tripods. You can't tell from the images, but the ears and tails have realistic texture and are very possum-y.

Detail view below.

Check out the teeth on that little one!  You don't have to understand Possum to get the message!

And here is the back of the piece--

After the work was fired, I painted it with many layers of acrylic paint.


Now, with (1) a few years of experience under my belt, (2) the DESIRE to fuss, in a good way, and, (3, a harder lesson), knowing when to STOP, I'm going to give myself a gift of time.  Time to create more pieces like this, in all their fussy detail and glory!


  1. Oh my!!! I LOVE your possum piece!! With a nickname of Possumlady, I guess I would have to :-)

    Very, very cute.

  2. Thank you, Possum Lady! It doesn't show in these photos, but the possums have very respectable rat tails. I used nylon mesh bag to get that effect. Not everyone appreciates possum adaptations (I don't understand it--they are remarkable animals), but I figured you might!