Inspired by this photo from the Florida CraftArt Members’ Show, I’m just thinking about the simple pleasure of objects. What wonderful ceramic work in the foreground. (by )Rebecca Zweibel) and what intriguing shadows they cast.
The finished works make me walk through the imagined steps of the making — forming these shapes out of the smooth wet clay. (If you have ever worked in clay, you know its wet, earthy feel and scent.) The painterly application of colors and images. The hands-on work of firing and finishing. And these forms have a liveliness to them — animated, like the creatures depicted on the surface. And once these works were in your home, you could touch them and run your hand over the surface, tracing the incised lines.
The quilt I created is a still life — unusual subject matter for me. But, the mix of objects was also a chance to dig into the nature of the vessels depicted. The cobalt blue bottle has lived in my home for years. (It’s only a few feet away right now!) It is wonderfully reflective and richly colored. I had it on a table next to the smaller glass vessel, which is covered in marble-like forms, and a ceramic canister created by my daughter, Mary. It was such an amicable little grouping! As part of the composition I ended up doing some cutting and splicing, a way to give life to the scene, to accent its energy. And I hand painted the fabrics to capture the patterns found in the vessels themselves.
While the worldis filled with awe-inspiring vistas, I understand why artists continue to feel drawn to simple still life scenes. The objects are infused with the human touch of their maker. We can understand them. We can imagine how they feel. It seems to be the way of simple objects to speak to our souls.