Interview with Roxanne Jackson - Artist of the month, June-July 2011

Interview with ceramic artist Roxanne Jackson - Artist of the month, June-July 2011

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Ceramics Now Magazine
: The theme of your works is very dramatic and sometimes macabre. Why did you take this challenge of confronting with your subconscious?

Roxanne Jackson: I want to make work about whatever comes natural to me. Instead of, for instance, sitting down to brainstorm different ideas to see what comes up, and then pick the ‘best one’ to use, I would rather see what surfaces naturally— when it is uncensored. Of course I am making decisions but, I allow room for intuition—rather than forcing the work to go in a particular direction. Art certainly has many roles—one is to depict and create beautiful objects. But, that is not the only way art can serve us.


Cadaver-Stirrup - View Roxanne Jackson’s works

We all know that the human nature has a dark side. You explore and question this side with your works and with what they express. Do you find exploring this side of human nature to be hard?

Not at all. I find the work honest and refreshing. I am currently building a two-part piece to be installed at Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens (Long Island City), New York this fall. Socrates is a contemporary sculpture park which support truly innovative outdoor sculpture.  I am creating two dead animals—one will be a white unicorn (with a crystal formation for the horn)—made from fired ceramic. The other form will be a life-sized adobe (and cement) buffalo, also dead. I am creating this work to comment on traditional outdoor sculpture that commonly depicts animals—usually, the powerful, regal stag in its prime-is represented (and cast in bronze). I have often wanted to see a nature sculpture that depicts an animal that is aging, for instance. Because, then the work would raise a different type of emotion and/or empathy within the viewer. In the same way the viewer can identify with beauty, she or he can also identify with pain, aging and all sorts of other complicated emotions. So, since I have never seen any outdoor sculpture like this, I decided to just make it myself.

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Interview with Jim Kraft - Ceramic Technique, June-July 2011

Interview with ceramic artist Jim Kraft - Ceramic Technique, June-July 2011

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Ceramics Now Magazine
: What was the starting point in your investigation (research) with earthenware clay?

Jim Kraft: When I set up my studio I bought an electric kiln which satisfied  my needs as I was interested in making objects that were not meant to be functional or to be displayed outdoors.  I did not want to cover the clay with a glaze, I wanted the earthen colors of the clay to be prominent.

In what techniques do you usually work and what materials do you use?

My work is solely hand-built. I roll  25# slabs of clay by hand. I use a clay extruder to make my coils .I imbed dry colorants in both the slabs and the coils. I throw dry colorants on the ware boards as I roll the slabs, the moist clay picks up the dry materials.  Depending on what series I’m working on I build the vessel forms using cut up or torn slab pieces and twisted off sections of coils. I use earthenware clay in either a buff or a red color.  After the piece is bisqued I brush on a black/brown slip, I let that dry and the next day I wipe it off.  It stays in the cracks and crevasses.  Then I brush on a clear glaze.  I let that dry and wipe it off the next day.  I leave enough to give it life but not shine.  I want the surface of the clay to absorb light not reflect it. This is a building up of the surface, layering, as you might do in print making or painting. Then I fire it a final time.

Cord 5 - View Jim Kraft’s works

What is your present project, what’s its history and how do you make the pieces? Tell us more about the process.

Currently I’m building vessel forms using short torn pieces of clay coils and stacking them, like cord wood.  The end of each torn piece faces the viewer.  It’s like building with wine bottle corks or cigar butts, but end up looking more like natural, organic objects such as bird nests, bee hives or tree stumps.  The trick is finding the place where they don’t look like any of those things but allude to any and all of them. However I always want them to read as vessel forms, something that contains.

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Debbie Quick

Debbie Quick's profile on Ceramics Now Magazine - View her works

“I am a storyteller. Or at least I’ve wanted to be one for as long as I can remember; yet, the verbal telling of situations is not how my mind works. Instead, I physically construct my stories which speak of emotional interactions and reactions experienced during intense social exchanges. Just as social interactions are layered, having a number of interpretations, visual information leads to a multitude of possible understandings as well.  This is why the idiom “A picture is worth a thousand words” describes how I choose to create narratives. Having more than one interpretation of an experience is why I desire to pack multilayered thoughts into every thing I make. Through exploring these concerns I attempt to communicate the numerous nuances of emotion weathered during awkward social exchanges.

I watch. I love to watch. I draw inspiration from the watching. I collect awkward exchanges between people and then sculpt them into stories. My narratives visually speak of uncomfortable social interactions and the intensity of feeling born out of them. The pieces I build depict the slippery quality of emotional intelligence and how it seems to elude explanation. Since there is often more than one side to a story and no singular truth to a situation, my pieces are stuck at the point of experiencing and contemplating uncomfortable and irresolvable situations. I explore the pain and discomfort of social interactions through the visual narratives I make.” Debbie Quick

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Ian F. Thomas

Ian F. Thomas' profile on Ceramics Now Magazine - View his works

“I have been making art objects for most of my life and I have found that I have a greater understanding of my work after making it.  There is a mystery to things that people make.  I choose the process of art-making as a medium to pose questions about my relationships with (art) objects, people and myself.  Each time I start a work, regardless of the known impetus, the content of the work changes into something I didn’t previously know.  I have been enjoying this unpredictability, lending my creative process to my intuition.

In the spectrum of communication I find making objects to be an efficient vehicle. I find myself engaged with object making in a similar way a writer is engaged with text. For me, objects and their relationship with their surroundings manifest into a language in itself. As in the installation  “Weather Underground” I was interested in the site-specificity of the space I was working in, which used to be a classroom.  Working in an intuitive mode without an intended outcome, I knew the materials I wanted to use and allowed the piece to develop through me.  It was not until later that I came to the realization that the work was about me revisiting my own experiences of academia. 

I have considered my work to be a window into my subconscious. After completing this work, it allowed me to question the original idea, the process of making it and the actual outcome, and through the work I am able to gain a better understand of its possible meaning and message.  The practice of art is now a renewed engagement with my personal history.  The visceral understanding that it grants my senses is as pleasurable as the beauty of the produced object.  It is not my intent for the view to grasp these specific notions but to come to the work with their personal histories and to derive a visceral understanding through their senses.” Ian F. Thomas

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