by Susan Nolt-Banks
on display until December 9
Perhaps 2,000 years in the future an archeological dig will unearth a shard or pot with the Suzi signature on it; my piece of immortality. We originate from earth and to earth we will return. While I am here, it is from earth that I draw my inspiration for my art.
The pieces I create, both utilitarian and decorative, take some element from nature. From the natural textured carvings and earth metals in the raku pieces to the floral patterns painted on my utilitarian pots, the earth and its offerings are my muses. Rich, vibrant colors of nature tantalize the senses in the delicate flowers I add to my fairy houses. Leaves, flowers, wood textures, earth colors, all find their way into the ceramics I produce.
I work with commercial clay white, gray and shades of brown stoneware, and occasionally porcelain. Each piece is first bisque fired to cone 04 (1944° F) in my Skutt KM 1027 electric kiln.
About half of the pieces I create that are chosen for Raku firing are often freehand carved to reflect textures I see in nature – wood grain, the flow of water, the shape of stones, leaves and flowers. Then each piece is glazed with Raku-specialty glazes and fired in an outdoor propane-fueled kiln to approximately 2000° F, removed from the kiln while still glowing hot and reduced in sawdust. It is this technique that gives each piece its metallic finish and characteristic matte carbon black areas where it remains unglazed. Raku is an ancient Japanese technique that was used in the Japanese tea ceremonies. The word Raku means “comfort” or “enjoyment.” The sawdust reduction is an American adaptation of the Japanese technique.
Other pieces are mid-range electric fired to cone 6 (2244° F) using varieties of glazes and underglazes specific to the project. Many of my delicately painted floral pieces use bright underglazes to achieve the colors reflected in the flowers I see in the spring. My fairy houses are also fired using this same technique. Each texture you see in my fairy houses is freehand carved.
I also combine nature and whimsy, as seen in my collection of small cat, chicken and dog sculptures. Round eyes, varied expressions and bright colors make these little treasures both fun to create and a joy to send off to their new homes.
For more information: http://susannoltpottery.com/
Art-in-a-Case is displayed inside the Cattell library located on the Malone campus.The gallery is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. and is closed when there are no classes in session.