ROUGH Stuff: A Celebration of WILD Surface (April 25 – May 25, 2019) at Cavin Morris Gallery, New York.

Click here to view the gorgeous Rough Stuff Catalogue: https://issuu.com/cavinmorris/docs/rough_stuff_catalog_1

Joining Cavin Morris Gallery has widened my horizons enormously. The timing was perfect. For many years, while I was finding my place with clay, I had rarely looked at other art. My focus was studying aspects of the natural world and experimenting with the language of form. When Randall Morris contacted me I had just started really getting into seeing new art on social media, was settled into a spacious new studio, had lurched through one of those health dramas that gets you right in touch with the essentials, and was getting drawn into the powerful, mysterious beauty of The Brecon Beacons National Park, our new home.

The incredible exhibitions they put on at Cavin Morris, beautifully presented, are fascinating, engrossing, challenging and awakening. Randall Morris and Shari Cavin are geniuses at finding artists who are totally involved and living in their making. They are experts in their field and very interesting. Read anything they have written, it will be enriching.

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, closeup
Shari Cavin of Cavin-Morris Gallery: “So the question becomes: How can we use self-taught artists’ biographical information? For, after all, familiarity with it can enrich our appreciation of their art. Self-taught artists create in spite of life’s obstacles. Their art-making may be seen as an act of courage in the face of life’s harshness. There is an undeniable moral influence that self-taught artists exert on trained contemporary artists. Their message: Stay true to yourselves.” 

Randall Morris: “This field may be seen as part of the broader contemporary-art scene but it doesn’t play by its rules. Critics and new scholars constantly try to chop the body to fit the bed, but this art has its own intentions and its own rules.”

“Outsider Art: Then, Now Tomorrow” by Edward M. Gómez in Raw Vision Magazine 93

They got me reassessing why people make their art and what really matters about people looking at and living with art. There are lots of answers to that and you need to find yours. There is a spectrum and it is not hierarchical. It’s important that there is variety so that we have non-verbal communication for every aspect of our lives.

This link will take you to a fab page of past exhibitions at Cavin Morris where you can see the variety of astonishing art they show: https://wsimag.com/art/46537-the-fire-within

Through the Gallery I now have a network of creative friends that inspire, support and challenge me and share the courage to really go for it. My sculpture has gained immeasurably. It has been set free and has far more to offer the people who find it.

Cavin Morris never interfere with what you are making. They watch and study, listening to the rhythms. They see connections between art works so that their Exhibitions are conversations. Like a concert of fabulous music they enfold you and you become part of it all.

As with all their excellent blogs the following has a great selection of beautiful, evocative images and the text is really interesting. I was over the moon to see this write-up and be part of this particular show: it says everything I hope I am doing.

http://www.cavinmorris.com/blog/2019/5/11/rough-stuff-a-celebration-of-wild-surface?fbclid=IwAR2zfcUnfIdcM31sumW_3EgSyQIwRNDhsC_rVvTAFnsyL2S-Hf0VnCJ_r4o

ROUGH Stuff: A Celebration of WILD Surface (April 25 – May 25, 2019

Ashwini Bhat
Rebecca Buck
Melanie Ferguson
Peggy Germain
Mitch Iburg
Yukiya Izumita
Mami Kato
Lucien Koonce
Eva Kwong
Sandy Lockwood
Kirk Mangus
Lesley McInally
Freeda Miranda
Andy Nasisse
Rafa Perez
Sara Purvey
Chris Rond
Tim Rowan
Monique Rutherford
Jeff Shapiro
Avital Sheffer
Eugene Von Bruenchenhein
Mike Weber
Jane Wheeler

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ROUGH STUFF: A CELEBRATION OF WILD SURFACE

April 25 – May 25, 2019

The title, “ROUGH STUFF” is a deliberately ambiguous play on words.  The viewer might immediately expect an exhibition of wood-fired ceramics with great accumulations of ash, imbuing the surfaces with chthonic primordial landscapes.   And yes, viewers will find some of that rich technique in this exhibition, but in fact, we had something else in mind.

We live in cynical times.  In cynical times the first concept to be sacrificed to the beasts of dogma is most often ‘beauty’ or ‘grace’. To us, beauty makes rough and exquisite demands that the onlookers slow down and, however briefly, give themselves up to its call.  Beauty becomes a warrior in a performance reaching back to archaic times.

We want the clay to live in this exhibition.  It is common to link sculpted clay to landscape, but landscape is changing all the time right in front of us, especially now.  Landscape is umbilically linked to Place, and the art that Cavin-Morris Gallery shows, from Art Brut to ceramics (sculptural as well as tea and sake), to ethnographic, has always been closely tied to the myriad ideas Place awakens in the artists’ mind.  That vision of place runs the gamut from untouched and euphoric to dystopian.

That is really mean by ROUGH STUFF: a celebration of wild surface.  It is an exploration of the idea that never has earth, air, fire and water been more interactive with our daily lives than now.  

Like the tensed horse head in Picasso’s Guernica, our earth in all its beauty and ugliness is screaming to be heard.  Through the translations of visionary artists, we can always hear its real voice. 

Sculptors who use clay work with the raw essence of the planet that most of us take for granted.  We wanted special work for this exhibition, and we found them, created by the remarkable artists we have shown for years, and welcoming some amazing sculptors we felt would augment the vision.

We deliberately chose to emphasize the non-utilitarian aspects of their creations, with very few exceptions. The artists  experiment with local clays, they display edgy aesthetics, obsessively working surfaces both in naked clay and glazed, without losing their basic respect for the clay body.

For additional information please contact info@cavinmorris.com or call us at 212-226-3768.

  Ashwini Bhat  Garden of Earthy Delights  , 2019 Fired clay with feldspar and natural ash 4.5 x 5.5 x 5 inches 11.4 x 14 x 12.7 cm ABh 1
  Chris Rond  Fusion 2  , 2018 Ceramic 3 x 6 x 5 inches 7.6 x 15.2 x 12.7 cm CRo 5
  Ashwini Bhat  Garden of Earthy Delights  , 2019 Fired clay with granite and mud dauber nest and natural ash 6.5 x 6 x 4 inches 16.5 x 15.2 x 10.2 cm ABh 2
  Eva Kwong  AMALI  , 2019 Stoneware, colored slips, underglazes, glazes 21.5 x 11 x 11 inches 54.6 x 27.9 x 27.9 cm EKw 1
  Ashwini Bhat  Beginning is the End  , 2019 Fired clay, with glass and garnet media and underglaze 8 x 3 x 7.5 inches 20.3 x 7.6 x 19.1 cm ABh 3
  Eva Kwong  ARIRI  , 2019 Stoneware, colored slips, underglazes, glazes 21 x 14 x 15 inches 53.3 x 35.6 x 38.1 cm EKw 2
  Ashwini Bhat  Beginning is the End  , 2019 Fired and painted clay, with glass and garnet media and glaze 7 x 7.5 x 4.5 inches 17.8 x 19.1 x 11.4 cm ABh 4
  Eugene Von Bruenchenhein  Untitled (crown)  , 1950-1980 Painted Clay 4.5 x 8 x 7 inches 11.4 x 20.3 x 17.8 cm EV 45
  Ashwini Bhat  Origin of Species  , 2019 Fired and painted clay with natural ash 22 x 12 x 7 inches 55.9 x 30.5 x 17.8 cm ABh 5
  Eugene Von Bruenchenhein  Untitled  , 1960-1980 Hand dug clay and paint 10 x 5 x 5 inches 25.4 x 12.7 x 12.7 cm EV 46
  Ashwini Bhat  Alive Series  , 2019 Fired and painted clay with glaze 6.5 x 9 x 6 inches 16.5 x 22.9 x 15.2 cm ABh 6
  Eugene Von Bruenchenhein  Untitled  , 1960-1980 Hand dug clay and paint 7 x 4.5 x 4.5 inches 17.8 x 11.4 x 11.4 cm EV 47
  Andy Nasisse  Dark Matter  , 2017 Ceramic, multi-fired with overglaze 19.75 x 21.5 x 3 inches 50.2 x 54.6 x 7.6 cm ANa 2
  Freeda Miranda  Organic 2  , 2018 Ceramic 4 x 5 x 5 inches 10.2 x 12.7 x 12.7 cm FMi 2
  Andy Nasisse  Tantra Terra  , 2017 Ceramic, multi-fired with overglaze 24 x 16 x 3 inches 61 x 40.6 x 7.6 cm ANa 4
  Freeda Miranda  Organic 1  , 2017 Ceramic 3.5 x 5.5 x 5.5 inches 8.9 x 14 x 14 cm FMi 3
  Andy Nasisse  Red Head  , 2017 Ceramic, multi-fired with overglaze 22 x 22 x 3.5 inches 55.9 x 55.9 x 8.9 cm ANa 5
  Jeff Shapiro  Shield Series  , 2012 Woodfired Ceramic 20 x 13.5 x 8 inches 50.8 x 34.3 x 20.3 cm JSh 42
  Andy Nasisse  Ear Wig  , 2016 Ceramic, multi-fired with overglaze 17 x 16 x 3 inches 43.2 x 40.6 x 7.6 cm ANa 10
  Jane Wheeler  Black Ice Flagon  , 2013 Stoneware clay with chun glaze, slab built 14.75 x 9.45 x 6.5 inches 37.5 x 24 x 16.5 cm JWh 3
  Avital Sheffer  Inannah V  , 2009 Handbuilt earthenware 26.77 x 12.99 x 7.09 inches 68 x 33 x 18 cm ASh 2
  Kirk Mangus  3 Flying Houses Ziggurat  , 1982 Stoneware, white tapies glaze (inspired by Antoni Tapies) 12.5 x 7 x 7 inches 31.8 x 17.8 x 17.8 cm KMg 1
  Chris Rond  Fusion 1  , 2018 Ceramic 5 x 3.5 x 3 inches 12.7 x 8.9 x 7.6 cm CRo 2
  Kirk Mangus  2 Skulls  , 1993 Local stoneware, paddled with artist's own carved wooden paddles, wood-fired 7 x 7 x 7 inches 17.8 x 17.8 x 17.8 cm KMg 3
  Kirk Mangus  2 Warriors  , 1993 Local stoneware, paddled with artist's own carved wooden paddles, wood-fired 8.75 x 8 x 7.5 inches 22.2 x 20.3 x 19.1 cm KMg 4
  Kirk Mangus  Aurum  , 1984 Stoneware, colored slips, salt glazed 17 x 7.5 x 7.5 inches 43.2 x 19.1 x 19.1 cm KMg 5
  Kirk Mangus  Swirling  , 1984 Stoneware, colored slips, salt glazed 15.5 x 7 x 7 inches 39.4 x 17.8 x 17.8 cm KMg 6
  Kirk Mangus  Looking  , 1982 Stoneware, gooey glaze 15 x 10.5 x 10.5 inches 38.1 x 26.7 x 26.7 cm KMg 7
  Lucien M. Koonce  Tri-Footed Hanaire  , 2017 Hand formed stoneware clay and natural ash glaze; wood fired (anagama side stoke area) for five days to c/12 8.25 x 4 x 4.5 inches 21 x 10.2 x 11.4 cm LKo 8
  Lucien M. Koonce  Hanaire  , 2018 Hand-formed stoneware clay (with native North Carolina clay) and natural ash glaze; wood fired (anagama side stoke area) for five days to c/12 9 x 4 x 4 inches 22.9 x 10.2 x 10.2 cm LKo 9
  Lesley McInally  Goodnight Noises Everywhere  , 2015 Porcelain and stoneware coil vessel 17 x 18 x 8 inches 43.2 x 45.7 x 20.3 cm LMc 1
  Melanie Ferguson  Circles In The Sand  , 2014 Handbuilt stoneware, sgraffito, flashing slips, oxide stains, celedon liner. Soda fired, heavy reduction 11 x 12.5 x 10 inches 27.9 x 31.8 x 25.4 cm MFe 25
  Melanie Ferguson  Resurrecting Fragments  , 2013 Hand built stoneware, flashing slip, kohiki slip, oxide stains, sgraffito, gas fired in soda 13 x 10.5 x 9 inches 33 x 26.7 x 22.9 cm MFe 45
  Mitch Iburg  Fond du Lac Formation 1  , 2018 Sandstone fragments, glacial clay, dolomite, limonite 9 x 19 x 12 inches 22.9 x 48.3 x 30.5 cm Mib 30
  Mike Weber  Tsubo  , 2018 Wood-fired stoneware 17 x 15 x 15 inches 43.2 x 38.1 x 38.1 cm MWe 31
  Mami Kato  Tsuchi zaiku  , 2018 Ceramic 8 x 4.5 x 4.5 inches 20.3 x 11.4 x 11.4 cm MmK 12
  Peggy Germain  Grande jarre  , 2018 Ceramic 11 x 11 x 8 inches 27.9 x 27.9 x 20.3 cm PGe 1
  Mami Kato  Tsuchi zaiku  , 2018 Ceramic 7 x 4.5 x 4.5 inches 17.8 x 11.4 x 11.4 cm MmK 13
  Peggy Germain  Petit jarre  , 2018 Ceramic 3.5 x 4.5 x 8.5 inches 8.9 x 11.4 x 21.6 cm PGe 2
  Mami Kato  Tsuchi zaiku  , 2018 Ceramic 9.5 x 4.5 x 4.5 inches 24.1 x 11.4 x 11.4 cm MmK 15
  Rebecca Buck  Wyvern VIII  , 2015 Ceramic 15.35 x 27.95 x 13.39 inches 39 x 71 x 34 cm RBk 4
  Monique Rutherford  Untitled  , 2017 Wood fired ceramic 12 x 3.5 x 4.5 inches 30.5 x 8.9 x 11.4 cm MRu 11
  Rafa Perez  Untitled  , 2012 Porcelain and stoneware, fired at 1150 degrees 19.69 x 13.39 x 10.24 inches 50 x 34 x 26 cm RPe 25
  Monique Rutherford  Untitled  , 2017 Wood fired ceramic with carbon trap shino 9.25 x 7 x 6 inches 23.5 x 17.8 x 15.2 cm MRu 12
  Sandy Lockwood  Subduction Series  , 2016-2019 Stoneware and inclusions 7 x 7 x 6.5 inches 17.8 x 17.8 x 16.5 cm SaL 24
  Monique Rutherford  Untitled  , 2017 Wood fired ceramic 10 x 5 x 3.5 inches 25.4 x 12.7 x 8.9 cm MRu 14
  Sandy Lockwood  Gleaning Series  , 2016-2019 Stoneware and inclusions 12 x 12 x 3 inches 30.5 x 30.5 x 7.6 cm SaL 25
  Mike Weber  Trinity  , 2018 Wood-fired porcelain 17 x 11 x 2.5 inches 43.2 x 27.9 x 6.4 cm MWe 30
  Sandy Lockwood  Fish Box Series  , 2016-2019 Stoneware and inclusions 8.5 x 6.25 x 6 inches 21.6 x 15.9 x 15.2 cm SaL 27
  Sarah Purvey  Rhythm - Landscape Series  , 2012 Ceramic 23.62 x 16.93 x 11.42 inches 60 x 43 x 29 cm SPu 4
  Tim Rowan  Untitled  , 2019 Stoneware 8.5 x 17 x 8 inches 21.6 x 43.2 x 20.3 cm TR 165
  Tim Rowan  Untitled  , 2019 Stoneware 10 x 21 x 9 inches 25.4 x 53.3 x 22.9 cm TR 166

Saturday 05.11.19Posted by caroline casey http://www.Cavin Morris.com


Thank you Ashwini Bhat, here with Randall Morris and Shari Cavin at the Rough Stuff Private View, for the following lovely photos!

How to make Animals using clay armatures.

We animals are frequently surprisingly similar and identifying those differences can be really difficult. Furriness or our perceptions built around our relationships can confuse the information and make it hard to see. Skinny legs supporting big bodies or building on larger scale where the weight of the clay is a huge issue cause a lot of problems.

This is the same technique I now use for making heads.  A simple clay armature supports the weight throughout the build and gives you a central point that you can work outwards from, allowing that most important key to success: making loads of mistakes and fixing them. You get to avoiding hollowing out so that you can play around with textures while you are building. And you will be using the process to re-organise the information in your head: there is no better way to do that than hands-on.

The skeleton is a stick-figure with the proportions (so important when you are being species specific) set out clearly and unambiguously. Fur, muscle shapes changing with the pose and fore-shortening in photos can confuse leading to sculptures that are cross between lifeless amateur taxidermy and stuffed toys.

The key reason making  forms from life is so hard is that the perception (the way we take in our knowledge) that we have built up over our lifetime of what shape the thing is, is based around our general experience of that animal. Making a sculpture of that living, moving, person requires going against what ‘feels’ right and using information we are unlikely to have bothered with before. Portraiture has a system to organise the huge quantity of subtle details. Learning this system will broaden your knowledge, and your access to more knowledge, enormously. That’s why the study of Portraiture and Figurative Sculpture is traditionally the bed-rock of Art.

The more you practice these invaluable skills the more you will see improvement in all your artwork, your general concentration and your ability to see. Like a pianist ‘doing scales’ you will build up the small muscles, motor-skills and neural pathways involved in this challenging, rewarding activity.

It is not rocket science and you can do it.

Because clay shrinks as it dries and is floppy when very wet a Clay Armature that will support and shrink with the form through the drying and the firing is invaluable.

Most techniques for building  hollow have a strong ‘voice’ of their own and will influence the final look of the piece. They can demand that you harden lower sections before you can build upwards and you are then unable to change them when you later realise they are wrong. This is a real disadvantage irregardless of your skill level. It is better to work solid over a clay armature especially if you are not using a scale-model and hollow out just before finishing touches. It’s not difficult. That technique is detailed here: Working solid and hollowing out.   

Working solid is an excellent method. You set aside the ceramic need for certain thicknesses in the clay  until you are sure you have the best sculpture you can make at that point. The armature holds the weight up. Some areas can be built hollow too. 

I was really lucky to run this workshop over two days at the wonderful North Devon Ceramics Academy and Studio. Nicola Crocker and Taz Pollard have created a fantastic, fun, supportive and practical space for learning and sharing creativity in clay. I absolutely love teaching there. Nicola and Taz have a very genuine commitment to empowering other people and sharing their open and imaginative approach to the vast potential within ceramics. The Studio is spacious, bright and comfortable and the atmosphere is friendly, unpretentious and very encouraging.

This amazing group of all experience levels were a joy to work with. And they came up with some great improvements to the technique. You will also adapt it to suit your hands and ideas.

We are using the out-standing Scarva ES50 Crank clay (a stoneware clay with a lot of grog – ground up ceramic grits- in a variety of sizes from corse to dust making it much easier to hand-build with) because of the way it reacts with water and it’s superb strength when hard and also when dry. You can use different clays for the armature but using the same one means everything shrinks at the same rate during drying and firing.

Many thanks to Nicola Crocker for the great photos of the workshop.

The Technique:

Print out skeleton images of your animal, ideally in the same scale as you wish to make your sculpture, images of the whole animal and images of that animal in the pose you want. On to a stiff slab that will be your central support, carefully draw the skeleton.

 

This is an important opportunity to get your head around this animals construction. You can trace through the skeleton using pin-pricks or pressure. But measuring from the diagram to transfer the image will begin the process of clarifying your knowledge of the animal for the purpose of sculpture.

The skeleton is set clearly in a simple to read pose. The sketch is the pose desired. On the clay slab the skeleton is set in the pose. This is not easy to do, takes time and is a huge investment in your sculpture’s foundation and in your skills.

Using stiff slabs, stand your central support up ensuring it is nice and stable. Make good joins: while much of this supporting armature will be cut away eventually some of it will remain and be useful during the firing. Build outwards using images of the animal to assess the widths. Use comparative measurements: the ribcage is twice the width of the head etc.

A narrow standing figure like a meercat will need something to support him or he will be and almost worst, look, very fragile. In the figurative tradition acceptable motifs are employed: think of those little shrubberies at the ankles of classic marble nudes. Or you can add a second figure and get support, a fascinating narrative and lots of fab negative shapes into the bargain.

Supports can added and removed all through the process. This wonderful student, herself a teacher came up with several practical and useful ways to improve this technique.

If you are comfortable doing it, build hollow. Or add the clay on solid. At this stage you are still building the frame-work for the sculpture: disciplined measurements will give you a great foundation that will give life to the artwork stage.

 

Squirrel.

This piece is all about the energy and character of this squirrel. The ‘fluffy tail’ can be a meaningless cliche and has not been used here.

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Work right around the form in layers giving full attention to the whole sculpture at each rotation. It is extremely important that you are always will to cut off parts that are wrong no matter how long you worked on them. A beautifully crafted eye will look grotesque in the wrong place.

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Once your form is completely ‘ blocked out, with all proportions correct switch to using tools to apply the clay rather than fingers. You will get a more attractive, stronger surface and can be more specific. A good habit is to go all around adding. Then all around subtracting, repeat until you can’t see what else could be done better at this point in your progression. Then hollow if necessary. Then do finishing touches (with small tools) Then poke a needle hole into any area that might contain trapped air.

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Add other types of supports if useful but remember they wont shrink with the form during drying.

Birds

Making birds is notoriously difficult because of their insane relationship with gravity. Work slowly in stages allowing the parts to firm up and add to the support system. Remove your clay-armature cautiously in small stages.

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This flying bird will be set on a base as yet un-determined. The armature holds the pose well on this very tricky piece allowing it to change and develop.

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This flexible technique can take you places you had thought of. Here the internal space has become part of the sculpture.

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Because the weight is supported and the skeleton provides strong boundaries you can play and feel your way around the form. The finished piece will need it’s own supports but here you can try various alternatives until you are happy with the look, strength and feel.

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Lots more trial and error will happen to this fascinating bird-scape in the next weeks.

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Take breaks, look out side to clear your eyes then glance at your sculpture and note what you first notice. If you hit a wall with it cover with a bag and walk away! I sometimes leave sculpture wrapped for months. I check regularly to mist with water and see if I can move forward again. Taking photos can be a good way to get some perspective. Ask others ‘what they see’ and compare that to what you want them to see. A dog that looks like a donkey has too big a head for example.

Giraffe

A wonderful form where negative shapes play a stunning role. Their grace and movement is enchanting and very tricky to capture.

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Five points of contact with the ground could give this piece stability but at this small scale those legs and feet are still so small. This elegant solution, where the central support is tidied up attractively and immediately becomes neutral, eliminates the distracting fragility.

Wild Boar

This animal is iconic and has held it’s place in art for Millenia. It’s bulky form and thick fur can easily be over generalised into a blob on sticks. Here the skeleton secures the integrity of the structure. This sculpture is about his power and movement.

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This piece will be completely cut away from it’s supports once it is firm to retain it’s shape, rested on foam and a hole made for a metal pin and base that will show off it’s galloping form.

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The details of the face should be in balance with the rest of the sculpture. At this small scale it is also a mistake to try and put on complicated detail. It will take a lot of time to find what can be left out. The skull will give you the clues: it is the structure of the face that matters.

Cats

Cats are extraordinarily flexible and their exterior hides their structure. Making pets can be very difficult because we have so much knowledge of them that can cloud the sculptural information. Use the skeleton to keep on track with proportions that our nutty perceptions may think are similar to humans!

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A beautiful, gentle way to address the eyes expressively in keeping with the form.

Dogs

This student had gorgeous pictures of her adorable young dog, especially his loving face. But at this small scale she focussed on his movement and energy to portray him. She will paint his distinctive markings on in colour.

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Keep re-checking those measurements at every stage.

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The armature is cut away (but continues to function usefully inside). Needle holes will be poked up into the form to vent all the air pockets made by building hollow. Then a hole will be placed for a wooden dowel set in a base to display this dog leaping as he runs.

 

Meercat

These little guys have tiny feet and very slender legs. You could build some grass or rocks around their lower legs to give stability. Or add a friend.

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Like the giraffe parts of the support wall could remain and no-one would notice because the charm of these characters and their friendship is far more engaging.

Otter

This up-right stance gives similar problems to the meercats but the way otters stand gives plenty of attachment to the base.

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An otter’s simple form can be very difficult to capture. His gesture and poses are well recognised so that helps. Starting with the skeleton puts the key points of his body in the right place under that silky fur. There is a lovely change in loose to very smooth modelling on the surface that recalls water running off the fur.

The Horse

Like many big herbivores horses have surprises in their skeletons that are key to their shape. A rig of spurs along the spine limits over-flexing but also keeps predator teeth away from the precious spinal column. It defines their characteristic silhouette. The skull seems bizarre but get that blocked in well and the head will look great, even in a small scale.

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Follow the transition points of the legs very carefully. Note how those big neck muscles cross and attach behind the shoulder blades. At this stage it is almost as if the legs are just attached to the edge of the body but you now know those leg bones go right up near the spine and have a wide range of movement which can be gauged by measuring the length of a bone and pivoting it from it’s socket. It was suggested that you could cut up a spare skeleton in order to make a hinged ‘shadow puppet’ that could be helpful in designing the pose from a standing skeleton.

Armadillo.

These guys go well above and beyond not to look like animals all! They have extraordinary skeletons, well worth studying. But it has to be said that apart from proportions the hard shell-like outer skin means you see no clues of it showing on the armadillo’s surface. Their shell is a very subtle, beautiful shape with exquisite patterns.

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This student did all the skeleton work as part of the workshop. But then he switched to working solid/hollowing out as a technique far better suited to armadillos.

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On solid clay use your skeleton to identify the right proportions.

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Use a serrated kidney tool to shape the body. Then use a flat wide modelling tool to add clay and further refine that gently undulating form.

 

Your central, weight-bearing support does not need to be flat/straight: Both of these abstracts were built outwards from a stiffened curvy up-right central shape of various thickness set on a metal rod.

Antarctic Harbinger III, 26cm H x 37cm W x19cm D.

Antarctic Leviathan, 45cm L x 23cm H x 12cm D.

 

Quality Joints:

Genuine joins are formed when the chains of platelet-shaped particles from each section inter-lock. Picture a magnified image of hair.

Score marks do not give the surface ‘tooth’; they allow water into the clay-body. On vertical surfaces they hold the water in place to give it time to sink in.

Slip is not ‘glue’, it is clay particles spread out in water and has little strength, especially when it has dried. It is ideal for holding a lot of water in place to give it time to be absorbed to soften the area of leather-hard clay.

Once both edges are softened put the pieces back together and move back and forth until you feel the edges lock together.
Manipulate the softened clay at the join to encourage further integration of those particle-chains and to disturb the straight line of the join; cracks love to zing along a nice straight slip-weakened join during the firing when the pull of shrinking stresses the sculpture.

Thicknesses: cracking/breaking.

How thick the clay can be to fire well depends on the amount of grog (the gritty bits of pre-fired clay ground to specific sized grit/dust that gives improved structure and resilience to your clay), the denseness of your modelling style, drying time and the speed of your firing.

Air bubbles trapped in the clay will expand with the heat. Grog and/or a loose surface will allow the air to seep through the clay. The same is true with water but steam expands fast. If your piece breaks into big bits during the fire it was trapped air and you will be able to see where the bubbles were in the shards. If it blows up into a trillion smithereens it wasn’t properly dry!

Drying:

I dry thick sculptures slowly under plastic which I turn inside out ( to avoid condensation pooling) daily for 4 weeks minimum and then 1-2 weeks in a plastic tent with a dehumidifier.  A card-board box makes a great, slow, draft-free drying chamber.A long dry allows the water to level out as water loves to do and that will enhance the structure of the clay within it’s new sculpture shape. You will get less cracks or distorting in the fire.

I fire very slowly with an 18 degree C rise until 600 degrees C. then onto full power up to the desired temperature.

Generally 3cm is a fair maximum thickness for a well grogged clay.

There is good essential advice about handling clay on the post about Coil Building.

How To Make a Head is essentially the same method and you will find it helpful. It talks about human heads but of corse is relevant to all heads apart from the handy option of being able to measure with callipers from your own.

Studio Diary: The Marking Time Sculpture at Bronllys Hospital, Powys, part 10: Finale!

Many thanks to Talgarth FYI and Ann Dierikx Photography for this:

Official Opening of the Marking Time Sculpture and Woodland Walk, Bronllys Hospital on June 22 2017

5 days ago in Community News by FYI:Talgarth

Official Opening of the Marking Time Sculpture and Woodland Walk, Bronllys Hospital

Thursday June 22 saw members of the Powys Teaching Health Board come together with artist Rebecca Buck, Veterans and Powys County Council Cabinet Ministers plus invited guests to officially open the Marking Time Sculpture and Woodland Walk.

Along with The Green Valleys Organisation (TGV) the Powys Teaching Health Board (PTHB) has been working with and supported by Powys Forces Covenant to create a woodland walk which will allow patients, staff and visitors alike to take some quiet time in the small mature woodland adjacent to the hospital. TGV working with forces Veterans over the past year have created a route through the wood featuring a large fired sculpture by Brecon Beacons artist Rebecca Buck. The project group also worked with children from two schools, Mount Street Primary in Brecon and Llandrindod High School, children from Mount Street Primary attended the opening and were delighted to see the fired tiles they had created in situ.

The event was opened by Carol Shillabeer Chief Executive of the Local Health Board and attended by Chair of the LHB, Professor Vivienne Harpwood, Vice Chair Melanie Davies. After an introduction and thanks to all working on the project, Veteran Mick Farrell gave a small speech of thanks to those who made the project possible especially volunteers such as Mark Christmas who has worked tirelessly on the project along with Gareth Ellis of The Green Valleys.

Many elements of the walk have come from other areas of the local community such as garden design by Seza Magdalena Eccles of ‘Hideaways in Hay’, poems commissioned for the walk from poet Emma Van Woerkom and Mark Christmas. The mosaic which forms part of the sculpture was made by the children and the created tiles fit in and around the sculpture which were made and then cast in 3 sections.

After some light refreshments and a display of the works, groups were led around the walk and the children from Mount Street joined the group for photos. Rebecca Buck the artist commissioned to make the sculpture which draws inspirations from Welsh icons such as Dragons and Red Kites gave and emotional speech. A poem which was written by Veteran Mick Farrell, especially for the Walk was read by Michael Eccles of Hideaways in Hay.


We are the child of nevermind
Who, finding dreams lost, unfind
Who, wandering, walking paths unknown
to find a woodland overgrown
And seeing in that woodland Glen
Who elfin laughter laughly speak
Of how we humans keenly seek
Some new haven overhewn
And child stars of the moon
Mick Farrell, 2016

The sculpture is viewable in the ‘Woodland Walk at the Bronllys Hospital Site just opposite the Veterans ‘At Ease Garden’ created by the same Group.

Powys Teaching Health Board Website: http://www.powysthb.wales.nhs.uk/home
Artist Rebecca Buck: https://ospreystudios.org
Garden Design: Seza Magdalena Eccles : http://hideawaysinhay.co.uk.

Photos supplied by Ann Dierikx Photography : http://anndierikx.com

Artist Rebecca Buck (rhs) talks to Chair of PTHB – Professor Vivienne Harpwood and guests

Vivienne Harpwood (lhs) with Carol Shilabeer and other guests with Lydia Powell and Paul Evans of the Bronllys Wellbeing Park

Jacqui Wilding Community Health Council Welsh Assembly Appointed Representative (Veterans) with PCC Cllr Aled Davies

Children of Mount Street Juniors, Brecon

Mark Christmas with Carol Shillabeer

Janet Eppleston with Veteran Mick Farell and Melanie Davies Vice Chair PTHBT

Gareth Ellis The Green Valleys with Sophia Bird PTHB

Gardens designed by Seza Magdalena Eccles

Guests Adele Nozedar and Emma Bevan

Leader of Powys County Council Rosemarie Harris chats with Mike Lewis former High Sheriff and Aled Davies Leader of Welsh Conservatives PCC

Paul Evans talks to garden designer Seza Magdalena Eccles

Seed packs were given as gifts to the children who worked on the sculpture

Gareth Ellis of The Green Valleys with Talgarth County Councillor William Powell and ‘Forager and Writer’ Adele Nozedar

More wonderful photos from the event from Ann Dierikx Photography

Pennard Primary Lead Creatives Project, part 4.

I am proud to say we have poured our hearts into this marvellous project. The amazing pupils, their awesome teacher Miss Bygate, the extraordinary Head Ms Hanson and all the dedicated, kind,  thoughtful and very patient support staff were willing to really go for it and gave us all the encouragement and back-up we could possibly need.

The book we made: The People Of The Throne.

The final draft of the story The People of the Throne written by Pennard Primary School year 5, 2017, pupils and Daniel J Buck.

Hidden with in this old business text book is the record of the whole project. Read Daniel’s description of the project from a writer’s view-point here.

A great boost to have this kind and friendly Volunteer come along and rake over the foundation while we set the sections in place.

The People of the Throne sculpture unveiled!

After Headmistress Ms Hanson’s really lovely introduction Daniel read out some of the story

The moment we have been working for! A nod from Ms Hanson and this sculptural playform is covered in excited kids at last!

The pupils wonderful art work about what their character was doing during the story is set well into the coloured cement to protect it from play activity. This has given it a mysterious, ancient quality, like revealed carvings of a disappeared civilisation.

During the design phase the pupils were clear that they wanted the sculpture to inspire other children to make their own stories. There are tunnels and hidden places.

The sculpture is set facing the rising sun in a circle of established young deciduous trees, across from a big ground-work playform castle in the far corner of the huge play-ground at Pennard Primary School. This area is often used as an outdoor classroom and is a wonderful, magical, sheltered spot for free imaginative play.

Rebecca Buck Osprey Studios

In the background, ever ready to step in and help is Hugh Blackwood, the school caretaker and artist who makes beautiful jewellery. He was invaluable during the installation, an out-standing assistant.

It was a joy to see this amazing group again, show them their book and talk about their new ideas.

The extraordinary Headmistress, Ms Hanson and some of her very proud pupils.

The Throne, Pennard Primary School, Pennard, Gower, Wales, UK. By Osprey Studios and Pennard Year 5 2017.

Year 5 had made us a fabulous card with drawings of each character.

Kind, beautiful, creative and very dedicated Miss Bygate with her fabulous class and Daniel on the sculpture they have made with Osprey Studios for every future generation at their school.

The Throne, Pennard Primary School, Pennard, Gower, Wales, UK. By Osprey Studios and Pennard Year 5 2017.

The Throne, Pennard Primary School, Pennard, Gower, Wales, UK. By Osprey Studios and Pennard Year 5 2017.

The Throne, Pennard Primary School, Pennard, Gower, Wales, UK. By Osprey Studios and Pennard Year 5 2017.

Studio Diary: The Marking Time Sculpture at Bronllys Hospital, Powys, part 9.

The Installation.

I was really lucky to be working with the wonderful, resourceful, ingenious Gareth Ellis from Green Valleys. He has the patients of a saint. The writer Mark Christmas gave a huge amount of time and hard labour in addition to his years-long dedication to this project and this poem which will be set at the entrance to the woodland walk:

                                                                                        Catching a Moment

                                                                                               Within these woods

                                                                                       there is a breath to be found

                                                                               to ease new life into sight and sound

                                                                           transforming our world and how we see

                                                                           each branch, each twig, each living tree

                                                                                   so when the hurt inside we feel

                                                                               creates distraction with no appeal

                                                                        take a walk on this path to find this rhyme

                                                                            you will no longer be ‘Marking Time.’

                                                                                                                   Mark Christmas, 2015.

                                                                                                                   Dedicated to those who understand.

Because vehicles could not pull up to the site, the budget was tight (having been well squeezed by this point as is my habit!) and we couldn’t be too sure who would be able to join us we used a slightly different installation method than in previous sculptures.

We fixed the triangle of heavy railway sleepers securely, dug down 20 cms and then packed in hollow breeze blocks.

The first sections were put in place using the paper template of the mosaic and corner tiles, steel rebars hammered down through the sections and well into the ground and then post-crete was poured into all available gaps and half way up inside the first 3 sculpture sections.

Gareth Ellis and Mark Christmas. Marking Time, Bronllys Hospital, Powys.

The second sections were braced in place using blocks/ wood/ prayers, rebars set, post-crete poured.

Mark Christmas working on the Marking Time Sculpture, Bronllys Hospital, Powys.

The mosaic was built in the studio in 3 sections to aid handling and set securely in place with concrete going right down into the breeze block hollows. The mosaic tiles and the triangle corner-tiles were beautifully made by pupils in Ross Bennett’s Art Department at Llandrindod High School.

Marking Time, Bronllys Hospital, Powys.

Me adding the finishing touches to the mosaic, Marking Time, Bronllys Hospital, Powys.

Mark Christmas brought in poet Emma nan Woerkom to take some lovely photos and create this beautiful poem that has been cut in brass for the site.

Marking Time, Bronllys Hospital, Powys.

All the visible cement (pointing etc) was done with a white cement/gold sand mix that matches the fired colour of the Scarva ES50 clay perfectly. On the floor we topped it with light brown flint chippings and extra, handmade blue mosaic tiles and glass to soften the edge of the mosaic.

Marking Time, Bronllys Hospital, Powys.

Finishing touches on the sculpture were done with Milliput and the golden cement.

Marking Time, Bronllys Hospital, Powys.

Mick Farell has been a key part of this project and he was wonderfully supportive during the installation. His enchanting poem, written especially for the sculpture completes the triangle.

                                                                                               We are the child of nevermind

                                                                                             Who, finding dreams lost, unfind

                                                                                      Who, wandering, walking paths unknown

                                                                                               to find a woodland overgrown

                                                                                           And seeing in that woodland Glen

                                                                                              The happy minds of nevermen

                                                                                           Who elfin laughter laughly speak

                                                                                             Of how we humans keenly seek

                                                                                               Some new haven overhewn

                                                                                               And child stars of the moon

                                                                                                                                           Mick Farrell, 2016.

The poem tiles were made by the same fabulous pupils at Mount Street Junior School that developed the theme with me last year ( see Part 1)They are fixed to the sleepers with tile adhesive and screws.

We have spent a great deal of time on this one and it has been worth it. The Team have been a joy to work with and the whole woodland site looks really beautiful. Gareth Ellis and Mick Farrell will put in the benches and place and secure some tree-trunk logs. This is going to be such a calming, peaceful place for people involved with the Hospital to rest and revive.

                              

 

Studio Diary: The Marking Time Sculpture at Bronllys Hospital, Powys, part 8.

The cut sections had a slow dry for a month and the last 6 weeks in a tent with the dehumidifier. Water is still collecting!! Soon I’m going to have to start the firing. But if the sections are still damp they will explode into a trillion smithereens….

 

Rebecca Buck, Osprey Studios.

 

The letter tiles look great.

Rebecca Buck, Osprey Studios.

Pennard Primary Lead Creatives Project, part 2.

The structure is nearly complete and the art-work is roughed in.

The structure of the upper section of the sculpture is nearly complete and the art-work is roughed in. Inside a network of supports are in place to hold the walls now at this soft stage, when it is firm and cut into sections, when it is dry and being loaded into the kiln  and during the firings when the whole thing will shrink a small amount. Holes are cut through the supports to accommodate the iron rebars that will re-enforce the concrete and secure the sections together. Other holes are placed around the sculpture so we can feed in concrete. Joins, etc will be pointed in the golden cement that will comprise most of the surface of the lower section where more pupil’s tiles will be set in to the breeze-block/cement form.

Pennard Primary School, yr 5 pupils panels set in the sculpture's structure.

Pennard Primary School, yr 5 pupil’s panels set in the sculpture’s structure and the scale model. They have had 2 rounds of touching up and the final 2 (or more) will be done once the form’s structure is completed to ensure that the panels are part of the flow of the sculpture and don’t just look stuck on. The pupils art-work on their panels is so good it didn’t need more than strengthening the joins and repairing damage done during the inset process. It is the areas around the panels that will need careful work.

Pennard Primary School, yr 5 pupils panels set in the sculpture's structure.

Pennard Primary School, yr 5 pupil’s panels set in the sculpture’s structure.

Pennard Primary School, yr 5 pupils panels set in the sculpture's structure.

Pennard Primary School, yr 5 pupil’s panels set in the sculpture’s structure.

Pennard Primary School, yr 5 pupils panels set in the sculpture's structure.

Pennard Primary School, yr 5 pupil’s panels set in the sculpture’s structure.

Pennard Primary School, yr 5 pupils panels set in the sculpture's structure.

Pennard Primary School, yr 5 pupil’s panels set in the sculpture’s structure.

Pennard Primary School, yr 5 pupils panels set in the sculpture's structure.

Pennard Primary School, yr 5 pupil’s panels set in the sculpture’s structure.

Pennard Primary School, yr 5 pupils panels set in the sculpture's structure.

Pennard Primary School, yr 5 pupil’s panels set in the sculpture’s structure.

Pennard Primary School, yr 5 pupils panels set in the sculpture's structure.

Pennard Primary School, yr 5 pupil’s panels set in the sculpture’s structure.

Rebecca Buck Osprey Studios.