Now that I have emerged myself in this new body of work, ideas for new pieces in the series frequently bubble to the surface quicker than I can write them down. And each new idea is often an evolving process. I sketch out the idea, I try to create it, and it morphs into something slightly different. Or the original idea is a complete failure upon creation. You know that feeling “Um, that isn’t what I wanted to make” or “That isn’t what I pictured in my head” or “This is a piece of crap.”
Such is what happened with a recent idea.
Taking a break from sculpting Spirit Messengers, I’ve been focused on making wall pieces. I had an idea to make some pieces with abstract forms on the surface. Since I was already working with alcohol inks, pearl ex powders, gold leaf and polymer clay, I decided to use these items on my first attempt.
I pulled out several molds with abstract forms and conditioned both white and translucent polymer clays. I pressed the clay into the molds, popped them out, and worked on their surface designs.
And you know how some things look really cool in that raw stage? The colors are appealing. The shape intrigues.
And then you pop those pieces into the oven, sand them when they’re cooled, and buff them on the buffing wheel.
And they come out like this:
Yuck. I’m not feeling the love here folks. I mean, several of the shapes are cool. But the colors aren’t doing it for me. I also wasn’t pleased with the Kato Liquid clay that I applied as a final layer over each piece. Maybe Kato Liquid clay works better on flat surfaces. It certainly wasn’t staying on many of these raised surfaces…as I found out when sanding and the gold leaf started to flake off.
Again, could be a neat effect, if that is what you’re going for. But I wasn’t going for that.
Doing my best Pooh bear imitation, I place my paw, I mean my hand to my head and start muttering “Think, think, think.” Idea one failed. The concept remains a good one (abstract shapes) but the execution…not so hot.
So I pulled out one of my art books* for inspiration and guidance.
There they were, disks and caps, textures and abstract forms. This excited me. This spoke to me. This would be the answer to what I saw in my head.
Getting to work with a few simple tools (always a plus), I made various sized disks and caps, textured them, combined them, and gave them an acrylic wash.
Viola! The new abstract forms that will be incorporated into future wall pieces:
Creating these pieces reminds me of the tiny underwater studies I put together last year. You can see those here. I’m not sure what it is, but I’m really excited about these forms. I know I’ve found something here because I’m already working on a slightly different version from the ones in the picture. Now the muse is off and running again.
*Thanks to Rona Sarvas Weltman’s book Ancient Modern for providing the inspiration.