I have been gestating a piece for several years now; building it in my mind. And I have been patiently waiting for certain elements to reveal themselves in the material world. I am so grateful when the universe gifts me her junk. It feels like an affirmation. I am in the process of incorporating these elements into my offering series. Gratitude.
The process of wrapping my offering has me meditating on the beauty, meaning and myth of dragonflies. I've come by bucket full of thousands of brass dragonflies in the junk. This offering is becoming a swarming nest of dragonflies.
My Offering series centers on aspects of death, grief, mourning, rebirth, transformation and regeneration. The day Richard called to tell me that a bucket of brass dragonflies had been dropped at the junkyard, I knew I wanted to use them in my artwork. Still, I sat with them for a while, as they spoke to me.
One of 200 handmade ceramic tiles from the April Tony Moore Wood Firing in Coldspring, NY. I am ecstatic about the results. This is the beginning of a long creative process that will culminate in thousands of handmade sculptural tiles for a large scale installation I am working on. So, there are many, many more wood firings, gas reduction and alternative firings to go. The beauty rests within the process...Patience....Gratitude...
After both the anagama and noborigama were completely unloaded. Tony engaged everyone in a discussion of the kiln results. Tony described the particulars of the firing process, as well as the unique challenges that contributed to what was most unique about the April firing. Tony encouraged everyone to share special glazing and surface results.
It was my first time participating in an unloading from beginning to end. I found it to be incredibly educational. I was excited to see so much amazing work with breathtaking results. I am already looking forward to the July firing.
The anagama and noborigama were unloaded systematically; the pots were laid out on pallets according to where they were originally placed inside the kiln. Therefore, one could see the atmospheric effects on the works.
One of my fellow crew members at the Tony Moore April Wood Firing Kiln Unloading. That's me in the background!
Unloading the anagram and noborigama involves cleaning of the kiln shelves and bricks...That makes for lots of dust and flying particles. Therefore, gloves and masks are essential gear.
Seth pictured here working on cleaning off the kiln bricks. Seth is a ceramic teacher from Brooklyn. His sculptures were amazing.
Shelita Birchett Benash with Tony Moore, sculptor and kiln master. I've learned so much in the year that I've been firing with Tony. I've met so many amazingly gifted potters and sculptors. I've been able to experience a sense of community, creativity and sharing with potters and sculptors from near and far. Catherine Thomas drives down regularly from Canada!
Nature feeds the process. This is a marking technique that I have mused on for years now. I look forward to placing the several hundred small tiles throughout both chambers inside Tony Moore's anagama/noriborigama Japanese style wood burning kiln in April.
Recycled materials have a way of telling me what they what want to be in their next life; my job is easier when I listen.
My mind is gestating a new project. I'm in the beginner's mind; about to submerge into the chaos of unknowing. Heart beats faster...
Building landscapes with the clay. Kinetic connection. The power flows through me into an eruption of the surface. In those moments I leave my mark. Like climbing the mountain of consciousness: I am here.
"Were talent a prerequisite, then the better the artwork, the easier it would have been to make. But alas, the fates are rarely so generous. For every artist who has developed a mature vision with grace and speed, countless others have laboriously nurtured their art through fertile periods and dry spells, through false starts and breakaway bursts, through successive and significant changes in direction, medium, and subject matter. Talent may get someone off the starting blocks faster, but without a sense of direction or a goal to strive for, it won't count for much." ~ David Bayles & Ted Orland "Art & Fear"
My "Offering" series is an exploration of creativity as a sacred act. I love working with the bead form as a meditational tool. When working the clay, I feel a soul connection with the ancient past. The first people come to mind. And like the first people, I connect with the bead as one of the original expressions of beauty. The sculptures that are the result of my bead work carry a sense of devotion. I'm excited to see where working this way will take me.