Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Faux Bois

For some reason I am drawn to trees lately. Perhaps because it's winter and all the leaves have fallen and the structure of the trees is more visible this time of year. I thought about making some faux bois, or false wood, sculptures of various parts of trees. I'm using B-Mix Cone 10 porcelain clay.

While I was at the coast recently I took a walk through a eucalyptus forest near San Simeon. The smell of the eucalyptus leaves was so pungent. As I was walking along I saw the bark peels off the trees in big strips and as it dries it curls up on the edges. I was inspired to create a sculpture of a piece of bark which might have fallen from one of the trees. This sculpture is about 14 inches long and 7 inches wide. I intended this sculpture to be a bit longer and not as wide, but I like the way it turned out.

Near the campground where we stayed there had been a fire and several pine trees were scorched and had fallen. There was still some debris left from the fire and I noticed a rotting branch on the ground. I am not sure about the branch coming out of the log, it's too late to adjust it now because it is too dry. This sculpture is about 12 inches long and 1.5 inches wide. I might make a few more of these rotting log sculptures.

To me trees symbolize beauty, strength and endurance but sometimes trees succumb to the elements for various reasons. There are several trees down by the river which have died, but they remain standing. In the evening I see a Great Horned Owl sitting in one of the trees.

I'm not sure I like this tree sculpture, it was supposed to be more realistic looking, instead it came out more symbolic or stylized. I think I need to make the transition between the branches and trunk more gradual. This sculpture is about 11 inches tall, with a 2 inch trunk and about 6 inches wide for the branches. I might add an owl to the tree; not sure it will help. I guess I'll try making another one of these. I've got it propped up with a ton of chopsticks till it dries, we'll see if it makes it overnight without slumping down.

Sorry about photos not being better, I'm tired and I don't feel like going back out to the studio to take some more, it's too foggy and cold, so these will have to do. That misty mountain photo is about as clear as it's been here for over a week. I guess I'll be spending some more time in the studio instead of outside again tomorrow. I've really got to prune the grapes, fruit trees and roses, maybe we'll get some warmer weather soon. Good night.


    hey, have a look at Eric Serritella's work-----your tree stuff is AWESOME, brilliant idea! this dude sells his stuff for thousands!!!!!!!

  2. Thanks Gary. I should have known someone else did tree stuff too. I just looked at his website, he does really beautiful work. I'll keep trying. I think there is room for more trees in the world - short ones, tall ones, fat ones, skinny ones - cra - zy ones.

  3. I love the strength and solidity but also the fragility portrayed by your tree. I would think that it is hard to balance weight of the clay and get the curves and twists with no root structure and dirt to anchor as in real life. I'd love to see this one again and more in the tree series. It's a wonderful subject. I will be interested to see what you do with glazes. Hope you post it again.

  4. I am really drawn to the curled bark sculpture. Can't wait for the finished piece!

  5. linda,

    hey.. i'm trying to update my template on my blog. which template did you use to be able to change the background where the title is? I'm frustrated and confused. yours looks great and I want a picture of my pottery to be the backdrop of my title. anyway, happy new year!

  6. Hi Barbara, thank you so much for your kind words, I have more feelings than I can incorporate into the clay - I am hoping I can meld the two to one as time goes by. I am feeling like I want to do more with these. I am continuing and in fact I have several more in the works.

    Hi Ben, than you so much. At first this one didn't turn out like I wanted but now I am thinking I like the best of the three. I am still thinking about the glazing. I thought about posting one of these on the critique - we shall see perhaps after it is glazed. I am wanting to do a few more of these curled bark sculptures.

    Hi Amy, welcome back. I just used a blogger template, but I set my photo template up on my computer with the script and photo background and then I uploaded it into blogger. Mine still isn't exactly the way I want it - oh well, better luck next time.

  7. Love it! Really cool idea!

  8. Hi Mary, thanks so much I made another one today, I'll be posting more.


I love suggestions, questions, critiques, thanks for your comment