Life is an accumulation of experiences, feelings, and thoughts. The concept behind my design is to combine throwing on the pottery wheel and drawing. This work was created to challenge myself by making numerous plates on the wheel and displaying my love for old rusted cars. Accumulation is present in this work in three ways: First through the number of plates made, second through the combination of throwing and drawing, and third through the picture drawn on the plates. Displayed together, the image of an old Volkswagen emerges. It is important to me to emphasize the car being old, worn, and rusted because the car is a metaphor for life. When we are born we are perfect, just like a car right off the assembly line, but as the years go by ‘wear and tear’ take their toll on us. The dents and rust represent the life lessons and wrinkles we accumulate throughout our lives. The plates individually are meaningless but once they are all assembled they represent a combination of things that create a whole, just as how life’s collective experiences make the individual.
Life’s experiences and challenges make us strong- this is why ceramics is the best material to use because as clay undergoes its firing process it becomes hard and durable. All of the plates were hand thrown on a pottery wheel, and then dried out. Terra-sigillata was applied each of the plates and then burnished (polished). After they were bisque fired, the plates were then smoke fired for many hours until the right smoky affect was achieved. The smoothness of the plates seems to balance out the uncontrolled smoke fire effect on the picture of the old Volkswagen.
I was highly inspired by the art created by Molly Hatch. Her thrown pieces used as a wall display are very appealing to me. She is known for her simplicity and elegance and love of nature through her works. Her painted plates are very detailed and crisp, which is something I am very drawn to and try to accomplish within my own works. Other influences can include Chuck Close and Richard Notkin who use many small parts to create a much larger image. Judy Blake’s smoke fire pottery also influenced my design.
The plates individually are meaningless but once they are all assembled they represent a combination of things that create a whole, just as how life’s collective experiences make the individual. Not too many people find old worn out cars beautiful, but to me they each tell a story of their own and the rust and dents are just reflections of maturity and personality.
© 2012 Jessica Barngrover, All Rights Reserved
Senior Capstone Exhibitions Fall 2012, ceramics, cars