Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Construction of "Delft, Reconstructed"

If you've been following me, you know that I've been TRYING to take a break from claywork these last few months, to concentrate on writing. But hard as I've tried, that damneddeliciousfrustratingwonderful clay pulls me back in. The piece that did it? Delft, Reconstructed - for the Tombola at Pinot to Picasso, one of the Arts Council of Princeton's yearly fundraisers.

I thought it might be interesting to capture my thought process from a piece's beginning, middle and end. So here we go: hang in there. I have learned that my "flow" is not linear. It's kind of a rabbit hole, but I've learned to go where it leads me.

1. I see a promo postcard from the Times Discovery Museum in NYC, advertising the exhibit of the Terracotta Warriors. (Short history: In 1974, Chinese farmers start digging a well and instead come up with an army of nine THOUSAND clay soldiers, horses, figures, depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor in China (210-209 BC). Their purpose was to protect the emperor in his afterlife.)

2.  Become a little obsessed with the AMAZING tiled stone armor detail on the soldiers.

3. Start thinking more about soldiers and armies, which are such male-dominated things, aggressive things. And, long ago, when it was just men out on the battlefield, the women were left behind with all the rest of life. It got me to thinking about mothers, and how they're also soldiers, in a way. Soldiers for their children and families. Domestic soldiers.

4. Question: How I could interpret armor in a more feminine, domestic and modern way?

5. Think about ceramic items used in everyday domestic life, like vases, mugs, plates.

6. Think about the idea of excavating a life, about archeological digs and the pieces of domestic things that are found.

7. See an old piece of blue and white Delft pottery at the Tomato Factory.

8. CLICK. Start creating my own modern interpretation of Delft pottery/female armor. Create tiny tiles and begin stitching a modern, rectangular shape with silver thread. Decide a softer, feminine addition is needed, to contrast against the hardness of the pottery, and add orange thread and tiny gold glass beads.

Mounting and framing this piece was a logistical challenge, but I found it strangely satisfying when I finally got it done.  I was happy to complete this piece but sad to see it go.  If you're local and have a chance, Delft, Reconstructed is now hanging in the ground floor gallery, along with so many wonderful pieces from talented local artists - get thee to the Arts Council!

1 comment:

  1. It's gorgeous - it's beautiful - I LOVE the peek into your head, the thought process behind it, and it makes beautiful sense! There is something to be said for armour - vases (flowers), art in this case, arm ourselves with fragile beauty against the onslaught of life. Because home isn't always the happiest cocoon - it's a safe place, mostly, but it's also where we fall apart, where we sort through our experiences and live through what went wrong. I don't know if what I see here resonates with you in any way, but that's the beauty of art - it tells stories and helps us see what we need to see, if we let it :)