Primarily as a metal artist working in steel, it was exactly a year ago I dreaded layering up in my Carhartt’s, slinging the frigid 4x8 sheets of steel up onto the cutting table, firing up my welder and plasma cutter and create some art. The concrete floor was as cold as the metal and I could see my breath, even in the heated shop. My creative mind romanced new thoughts of working in warmer “indoor” mediums when the North winds blew and the temps dipped below zero. I had been wanting to work in clay again, especially after an incredible Raku experience I had with Gina last Fall.
Combined with Alaska’s weather challenges that exist in my artmaking and wanting to add some sculptural elements to my steel pieces has lead me back to the medium of clay. I admit, working with a red-hot kiln and feeling warm clay from the earth has always appealed to me. Though it has taken a year to get set-up for the new medium addition to my studio, it has been worth it. I purchased a slab roller this last summer, a kiln this last fall and miscellaneous glazes and clay along the way. With the recent addition of an electric kiln being hard wired with an electronic temperature controller, additional exterior power and professional wiring in the shop I’m ready for the new creative HEAT!
One of the first loads in the kiln will be the clay fish sculptures I made from the press molds created this summer with Bill Sabo. The clay fish and tiles have been on the drying racks for over a month waiting for the kiln install. I’ve included some images from the Sabo-Shake mold making project. Bill is dad to the famous and talented Agnes Barton-Sabo or better known as The New Adventures of BettyTurbo at Etsy. Bill and I made molds using potters plaster and semi-frozen fish. I went on to make various seascape themed tile molds from starfish and sand dollars I have collected over the years and shells I found beach combing in Homer.
I will probably wait until after the New Year holiday when I’m back in the studio full time to have a couple of uninterrupted days for my first firing.