Although my decades-long body of work is smoke fired, I have long-wanted to preserve the unique luminosity awakened by sunlight in my bisqued sculptures. This enlightened sensibility paved the way for my exhibit “Light from a Window” at the St. Louis Artists’ Guild (July 21, 2023 thru August 26, 2023.)
Light and windows are deeply intertwined with my work as a ceramicist and photographer. My porcelain hand-built sculptures blend an organic and contemporary style that takes shape using a traditional pinching technique. Each sculpture is a personal journey, paralleling events in my life at the time of making, reflected by their titles.
I use photography to capture the synergy of sunlight and shadow on my works, creating sculptural portraits that reveal the inner beauty of the pieces through light and moment. The effect of sunlight on the bone-white sculptures-- whether unfired or bisqued-- brings a radiance to the imagery that transforms color photography to an ethereal black-and-white realm.
The exhibit revels in the bisqued finish that embraces shadows and radiance when exposed to sunlight. The porous quality from the bisque reflects a luminosity that is only possible without interference from color. When sunlight streams through a window and sets the piece aglow it is ethereal, as though revealing the soul of the sculpture. That is the beauty of bisque.
Before adopting this more raw approach to my imagery, I typically photographed my pieces after smoke firing, rather than before. My recent photographic style was inspired from an artist residency in Taos, New Mexico while living in a 100-year-old adobe casita. As sunlight streamed into a kiva fireplace that I was using for a photo studio, a new way of seeing was set in motion.
Taos redefined my sense of what makes a finished work and a collection of clayscape imagery created during the residency was later turned into a book, The Light in the Kiva. The window light from my own century-old farmhouse inspired this newest imagery presented at the St. Louis Artists’ Guild.
The four smoke fired sculptures in the exhibit and their accompanying photographs (taken before smoke firing) were created in Taos and featured in The Light in the Kiva. The other 16 bisqued sculptures and their accompanying sculptural portraits were created in St. Louis.
“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”