In April I started sculpting water lilies for a new mosaic installation piece. I wasn’t creating it for any specific exhibit or show, but for myself. Most of my throwing is done for production and building inventory. I take on several commissions each year and work to stock my trunk shows, craft fairs, etsy, and the League of NH Craftsmen galleries, so my throwing list is always long. To ward off monotony, I like to have an ongoing project in the studio that is for my own exploration. Water lilies has been a theme lately, and the Lily Pool is the first completed piece in my personal sculptural work.
A couple of months ago, I received a letter from my ceramics professor, Gary Baxter, informing me that he was retiring after 35+ years of teaching. Part of his retirement process would include an Art Alumni Invitational Exhibit, focused on ceramics, and I was invited to participate as an exhibiting artist. I sent along a few images of my current work and this image of my Lily Pool in progress, asking if this piece could be part of the exhibit. I finished the piece just in time for the exhibit, and I’m excited to see it along with all the other works on display!
My dad designed and built the framework for my piece so it could hang on the wall. The first step was to lay out where each water lily would go, and then surround each flower with lily pads. Once in place, I glued down the lily pads. Next I drilled holes through the frame work so each flower could be wired in place along with the glue to add extra support when it hangs. The final step, and most time consuming, was filling in all the negative space around the flowers and lily pads with ceramic and glass tiles. Once the mosaic was set and glued in place, I began to grout. It felt strange to cover those beautiful in black paste — it looked terrible! Cleaning the grout off the mosaic was tedious work, yet also exciting as the piece took its final shape.
If you are in the Buffalo area, you should definitely take a trip to Houghton College to check out the exhibit! It will be running from November 14, 2016 – January 13, 2017. Opening reception is Friday, November 18th from 6-8pm at the Ortlip Gallery, located in the Center for Fine Arts at Houghton College. I will be participating in the Q&A session following the gallery talk given by Gary Baxter. It should be a great evening and I am honored to share in it.