Saturday, April 24, 2010

Tropical Influence


Last year I ordered a variety of mason stains. A short time later we sold our home, so we were busy packing and making travel arrangements. Then we were traveling across the United States looking for a new home and studio location. We eventually decided to move to Florida. All the while I have been dreaming of using all the bright colored mason stains I ordered, but I can't find them. So I am forced to be creative with the three colors I have of blue, green, and black.


Today I was in a reflective mood, wondering if my work is a product of my environment, my culture, or my heredity. I like to think my work is a combination of all of that and is headed toward a consensus of influence. If you've been reading my blog for a while you've noticed my Native American heritage coming through in my spirit jars. The natural world around me has an influence in the leaves, trees and bird symbolism I use. Mid century modern style also shows up in some sculptures and patterns I use in clay. And now that I am living in Florida, I suspect a more tropical influence will start to surface.

What do you think, is an artist's work a product of their environment, their heritage, their culture or a combination of all of them. If you are an artist what do you think has the most influence on your work? Do you make work specific to your local market. Since I've recently moved to a new area I wonder what type of art would appeal to those living here. Should that even be a consideration in making art?

This week I am experimenting with cone 6 frost porcelain clay from Laguna and these are the first pieces I have made with that clay. The first two pieces have a definite environmental influence since we are now living a stones throw from the gulf. The second has a bit more modern style with the stylized surfer riding the waves.



The star burst flower dinner plates are a combination of nature and a modern style. On the second plate I smeared the flowers taking the plastic hump mold off because I used olive oil since I couldn't find the WD-40. The smudged flowers look a bit like wet newspaper print. I wouldn't mind putting more layers on that piece, have to think about it. Colorful geometric shapes come to mind; where in the heck are those mason stains. They'll probably be in the last box I unpack. Or if I order some more, the day the new ones arrive will be the day I find the ones I ordered so long ago.


The last piece is the first one I tried with this frost clay. It started out as a pinch bowl, but the clay was so plastic and floppy it got away from me. So I decided to make an appetizer tray rather than re wedge the clay. We plan on going to a local art faire on the coast, so stay tuned for photos from that excursion. I'm curious to see what type of work artist's make in this area. Comments and suggestions are welcome.

15 comments:

  1. I enjoy working with mason stains. Your plates are so cool. I LOVE your frost tray!!!! Just lovely. Any ideas how you're going to glaze it?

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  2. the flower plates are my favorites. as for what influences my work... surroundings and life experiences definitely have an impact. i sometimes will make things that i know will sell in the shop in front of my studio (a country/primitives type shop) although those are not necessarily the things i want to make. i too am looking forward to working in a whole new environment to see how it affects my work.

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  3. Your plates are great -- sure hope you find your mason stains!

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  4. Hi Cindy, thanks, the tray is kind of cracked along the edges, I think I worked it too much, but I am going to leave it rustic. I have no idea what type of glaze I'll put on it. I'll think about that if it makes it through the bisque. I do like this clay though.

    Hi Michele, thanks, I think I will try and make some things that will sell that are easier to make then I can concentrate on the more complicated handbuilt things I really like to make. I've never lived close to a large body of water before and I think that and nature will play a big influence for me. Good luck with your relocation.

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  5. Hi Judy, thanks, they have to be some where. I must have put them where I wouldn't loose them. Ha!

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  6. Love your flower plates; they're very inviting...sit down, have some fruit, a cup of tea...and the tray definitely holds interest...I think an artist is a product of all three...and I don't think making pottery (or anything else) that appeals to a new market is shrill...because if it's not in your creativeness, then it won't work...a new market is just an extension of your creativity. And, yep those masons will turn up after you order new ones...loved this post.

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  7. Hi Linda
    I'm so impressed, that you are still working, even though you moved into a new house and have to unpack and settle your self.

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  8. I like those fish!
    More seafood!
    A starfish needs to be on the list.

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  9. Hi Kittie, thanks, I appreciate your take on the work not being shrill; sometimes I have an internal argument with myself about what I make. I like making little narratives on plates, an underwater sea scape, an above ground beach scene, stylized flowers, I enjoy it all so much. When I find those stains I'm going to go hog wild with color. Ha!

    Hi Connie, thanks, I just can't stand it if I don't have some clay to work with even if I can only grab a bit of time here and there, there's more to come already drying as we speak.

    Hi Meredith, thanks, stay tuned for the next post with lots of fish from an art festival; I just unpacked a dry starfish I bought when we were on the west coast so I am sure something will come of them very soon.

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  10. Hi 1202NathanV_Woodell, thanks:

    A cheerful heart is good medicine for health, a broken spirit makes marrow dry.

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  11. I think what comes out in your art boils down to what is important to you now. Which is influenced by your past and what you see on the horizon. I'm looking forward to seeing more and more Florida influences in your work as the months progress.

    An example how my environment influenced me years ago, is a little less enlightening that my previous statement...When I first got my wheel many years ago, the only place I had to use it was in the extra bathroom in my small apartment. Guess where the only place was to sit. ;) Anyway, my room was my influence (like it or not). I made a lot of soap dispensers, soap dishes, and toothbrush holders back then.

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  12. Hi Paula, thanks so much for your comments. I know it's not funny, but the picture in my mind of of you sittin on the toilet, only those who love working with clay would know that we do what we have to do, but I can see you making the bathroom related pieces and your comment has put food for thought in my mind, where we are and where we are going and what we hope for the future. Thanks again.

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  13. guess i missed this post linda, i love that fish plate at the top. fantastic! the flower plates are pretty cool too. can't wait till you can get some finished pieces to show us, i'm curious how alot of your work look when finished.

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  14. Hi Kim, thanks, I am curious as you. I want to get away to get it fired, but each day I have had the roofers, and the pool people here and I have to be there when they are working I hope to get away next week for sure as my cabinets are almost filled.

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