Happy New Year! I have a great feeling about 2016. I can feel in my bones that it is going to be a great year and I can't wait to see what is in store.
It's a new year, and I am going to give myself a new personal creative challenge...I have been thinking about the 52 Weeks of Art Plates project I did in 2013 lately and remembering how beneficial it was to the evolution of my ceramic art. I was relatively new to the world of low-fire pottery when I started the project (low-fire meaning painting on pieces of pre-formed and fired bisque shapes and using a brush to do it, as opposed to making my own forms on the wheel or by handbuilding with wet clay and using methods like spraying and dipping them into glaze in order to decorate them). It really pushed me to learn so much about the different commercial glazes that were out there and the techniques that can be used to apply them. This past summer I was fortunate to have them all in a show at The Brush and Easel Gallery in Fresno, and I was able to see how my style had changed and my craftsmanship had improved throughout the year when they were all hanging on the walls in chronological order. I was thinking it would be fun to do another challenge after that, but I was never able to come up with anything that would be different enough from the plate challenge so I put it off for the last two years. I am happy to report that I have finally come up with the perfect idea and I will be starting it this week!
One of the things that I am most grateful for from 2015 is that I met an amazingly talented woman named Kathleen Mattox. She is a fabulous artist, and we both share the same love of color and whimsy when it comes to making and looking at art. She owns the cutest little studio/gallery/gift shop in Sanger, California called Mixed Messages, and she is the 'nucleus' of the entire art scene in her little town. She also is a very active member in the Sanger Art Council and gets all of the town's creative people together once a month for Art Hop, where art appreciators can go around to different venues to see work from local artists. She is really an inspiration!
One of the many things she is fantastic at doing is coming up with ideas of how to turn her paintings into other items she can sell. One of the items she has that I fell in love with is a beautiful deck of 52 cards that feature one of her paintings on one side and a quote about art on the other. I bought a set for myself so I could have little mini versions of all the wonderful paintings she has made. I was at the studio the other day listening to her idea for a personal challenge for herself (which is 31 paintings in 31 days for 31 dollars...if you want to read more about it click here to visit her blog), and the idea for mine popped into my head. My challenge to myself is to paint one ceramic canvas every week in 2016 and each of them will include one of the art quotes from her deck of cards. I am so excited to get started! Of course I will be posting each project here on my blog and talking about how the pieces came to be, so stay tuned to see how it pans out. Or if you're feeling it, do the challenge with me! Kathleen still has the card sets so if you would like a one for yourself, you can contact her through her Facebook page.
This is a selection of some of my favorite cards from the deck. Aren't they fantastic?
These are some of the quotes from the back sides of the cards that I'll be using to inspire my pieces.
This is what a clay canvas looks like. It's an 8" x 10" inch piece that was designed to look like a real fabric stretched canvas. I can use my glazes and underglazes to paint on it just like I would with acrylic paints, then fire it in my kiln to make the design vivid and permanent.
You can see that it is dimensional and not just like a tile would be. This is a side view.
This is what it looks like from the back, in case you were curious.