Anderson Ranch Arts Center – Soft (and not so soft) Sculpture

I have been so busy that it’s hard to even decide what to write for this post. I should backtrack…

The Kickstarter Campaign was successful. Wooo!! After finding that out, I immediately had to race out to Aspen, CO and The Anderson Ranch Arts Center for my course in Soft Sculpture.

Aspen…yes. Beautiful, amazing, and of course, depressing to leave. Time flew. While it did fit in a smidge of site-seeing and one good hike, most of that time was spent in the studio – a beautiful and well-lit loft space.

A few of my studio cohorts! Such a wonderful crew!

Our teacher, Lynn Richardson was (and I’m sure still is) fantastic. She had the great attitude of, “Yeah! Let’s make this!” Exploration and invention was definitely encouraged. Here’s some of her fabric sculpture…

Red State by Lynn Richardson
2005
vinyl, nylon, steel, lights
20′ x 20′ x 18′

On that note, I’ll just start posting some of my experiments of combining casting resins and lace or other fabrics.

 Cast paper lace.  This was a tricky little mold to make, but I enjoyed the crystalline results when backlit. So much so, a studio cohort even helped me shoot a few videos of it spinning in light. There’s no thread in it (just bits of paper), but hey, it’s definitely lace! I am currently making a series of these in black. Small individually, they could fill a wall and look delicious.

 This is a hanging onion orb, if you will, using only red organza. I recently tried casting one in my own lace, but learned the hard way that I must use clear tints when using my lace – ope!

I donated this little piece to the Art Center’s Auctionette, where I heard it was happily snapped up. This is 100% cotton cast in red-tinted resin.       I am currently trying my hand at this technique to make a lace bowl. I hope to get it cast this weekend (fingers crossed).

Here are a few more studio shots of building the molds and mother molds.     

And finally here I am examining my experiments. I suspended all my little tests so by the end of the week I had a curtain of randomness behind me. I also cast a few fishing bobbers and had some fun little results (the intent is to work with the media on a larger scale, but for the workshop I worked on a small scale to conserve materials and make as many experiments as possible). But I’ll save that for later!

Work in Progress: Results of First Pit Firing

 

Pit-fired shell form
work in progress - pit-fired shell form - felting will be used to complete piece

Here are a few of my favorite results from my first attempt at pit firing ceramics. As experiments, they are all fairly small, the longest of these is about six inches. Not everything came out on the first try, but the best ones almost look like stones. I hope to have some images of the pit firing event itself soonish. For context, these “shells” (they are hollow or cup-like) are intended to be the bases of sorts for felting sculpture. Or so the idea currently stands…

Process: All pieces are slip-cast earthenware. Various surface techniques, such as burnishing, buffing, oiling, and terra siglatta were used in the greenware stage. They were then bisque fired in an electric kiln. Some pieces then received additional surface work. For the pit firing, various chemicals were added on and near the pieces for coloration, including rock salt, red iron oxide, copper carbonate, manganese dioxide, and cobalt oxide. The speckling in these pieces are a result of the various chemicals.

pit-fired shell form
work in progress - ceramic pit-fired shell form
Shellhorn
one of my favorites - slip cast pit-fired earthenware
the other side of image above - "shellhorn"

 

pit-fired "onion shell"
I call these Onion Shells