I have been fortunate enough to undertake 3 artist residencies in the past 12 months with a focus on ceramics – a medium I have had very little prior experience with. I have learnt so much and have had some success with a few one-off pieces ( See Oma-rapiti and Anthropocentrap galleries).. but it has been exhausting and frustrating, at times heart breaking and not good for my confidence. I am either very brave or mad (or both) to take on learning a new medium at this point in my art career. Why did I do it? I wanted to make sculpture out of more durable materials and suitable for outdoor exhibition. I wanted to learn mould making so that I could make multiples suitable for installation.I also felt that I would have an affinity with ceramics and that it would be a medium I could combine with other sculptural materials and processes in my future sculptural creations.
The reality is that I have had so many difficulties with ceramics – its been tough learning a new medium and perhaps wasn’t the best timing having also recently started a Research and Studio Arts PhD at The College of Fine Arts. I worked crazy long hours on my ceramic sculptural installation project for Sculpture in the Vineyards and it was a disaster in the end. I was devastated. The sculptures looked so perfect after the bisque firing. I then consulted with the studio supervisor on which glaze to use, then mixed it and made a test firing on a tile first. We both agreed that it looked perfect – like porcelain in fact. Sadly when we took all 12 mutant animals out of the kilns, the glaze was for some unknown reason incompatible with my clay so that the glaze ended up sitting on the ceramic forms but not clinging to it. In other words there was a thin gap of air between the forms and glaze so that the glaze began cracking off. I was so stressed with trying to repair the works as best I could for the installation date that I broke several of them. Then half of them broke during transportation and then both myself and my assistant broke a few during installation ..argh! It was very upsetting.
I had actually planned to come up with a poetic title for the work but in the end I kept the title ‘Endangered species” – a title I have used previously for a 2D work. In any case this title really this is quite fitting given how often they were in real danger of breaking!
My assistant and I ended up repairing most of the sculptures on Sculpture in The Vineyards exhibition site and I just hope that they are still standing. I had intended on driving up to the exhibition today for the opening event but was too jet lagged ( I flew back from Germany arriving this morning). I feel disappointed about missing the opening but it is 2 hours drive away and I may well have been dangerously exhausted on the drive back.
There is an artist’s picnic and closing ceremony on December 1st so I will attend that, being sure to arrive early to take some good photos of the work. ( If its still standing!?).
Attached are a few images of the works in progress and one shot taken on site at Sculpture in the Vineyards. ( before we had to remove a few more as they broke post photo!)