Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Rosie Rabbit Vase
"Hello, I'm Laurie J Niswander:)
I love three dimensional art and how it fits into everyday life; I love a beautiful, well crafted pot, or a sculpture in the garden.
I work with stoneware clay making handbuilt and wheel thrown pottery, as well as slab-built figurative sculptures. I roll out clay slabs and let them set until they are leather hard. I cut and assemble shapes, scoring and using clay slip to bind the slab walls together. I work textures into the surfaces of the figures using tools I have created from bisque fired clay, plaster casts, natural elements, and fabrics such as burlap, lace or netting. I use a red iron oxide finish on the sculptures before firing them in the kiln to 2262 degrees fahrenheit.
I am thankful for the many influences on my artwork. My father is a folklorist. He has traveled all over the world bringing home with him traditional art such as Hopi Native American masks, kachina dolls, Cambodian shadow puppets, and face jugs by southern American artists. Being exposed to many diverse influences has been an inspiration. Another great influence on my art work was my mother, who made sculpture from stone and clay. When I was a child, my mother always had a large trash can full of earthy wet clay, which provided material for my early exploration and creation.
Recently I became interested in Japanese Haniwa tomb sentries while doing research for a class. Haniwa tomb sentries are slab-built terra cotta sculptures with mask-like faces. They are dancers and noble warriors whose purpose is is to protect the dead. They can be humans, or animals; male or female. I have used them as a guide for my own sculpture.
In my work there is an element of spiritual offering, a feeling of tradition and ritual ceremony. Sometimes the female figures dance, or sometimes they bow down in worship. They always wear a quiver on their back, representing the tension of power inside them; though they exhibit courage and mercy, there is an underlying ferocity of spirit.
My sculptures have been part of juried competitions, and have recently won a guild award at the Creative Craft Council juried show at the Strathmore Mansion in Bethesda Maryland."
bio written by Laurie via her etsy profile
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