Monday, January 22, 2007

Calder's Cat

So I got a message from my gallery saying that over the Christmas holiday, both sets of my "Cat Plates" sold. I'm delighted. They were a lot of work, but so much fun to make. I love to let my whimsey run wild.

It all started many years ago when I was working at Seattle University in the Fine Arts Department and having a conversation with one of my favorite people, Roupin Shakarian, about Christo's work and how draping fabric over landscapes and buildings created a whole new image. I dashed off a quick sketch of a cat all wrapped up like a mummy and labeled it "Christo's Cat".

Some months ago, I was going through a file of old sketches and ran across it again. The idea still made me laugh and, since I had learned lately how to draw with underglaze on raw clay. (I had been wrestling with learning how to throw plates and the two ideas came together instantly.) I began to develop a whole collection of different artists' cats: Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Michelangelo, Dali, Henry Moore, Georgia O'Keefe. Christo & Calder. After many, many plates, I finally made two sets I was happy with.
The only hiccough has been that one of the buyers thought the Calder plate had a bit of fuzziness on part of the banding and would like a replacement. I explained that it would take a good while before I could have one ready, since it would have to be thrown, drawn and decorated, bisque fired and glaze fired--all to be included with other work in progress in the making/firing cycle. The gallery owner said that they were okay with that and understand the process. That's great. So, I've been in the studio making many Calder plates because it wouldn't be wise to only make one and think that it will be perfect...not going to happen.....I have to hedge my bets. Also have to make enough stuff to fill the kiln. This is going to take a while. In the meantime, I'll develop drawing on clay further with more pieces and ideas.

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