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Author Archives: Susan Lomuto

nichola theakston: sensitive animal portraiture

This post is for my daughter. . .lover and protector of animals small and large, near and far.

It’s easy to see that UK artist Nichola Theakston possesses a sensitivity and awareness of animals.

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She explore their feelings and expressions  – most recently primates – through ceramic portraiture. Thought Provoking. Bold. Oh-Those-Faces.

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“The notion that an individual creature may experience some ‘otherness’ or spiritual dimension beyond our understanding of its instinctive animal behaviors is the premise behind these works, and portraiture the vehicle I use to explore feeling and expression. Primates are an obvious and compelling choice of subject, and it is important to me that they are sculpted with sensitivity and empathy inviting the viewer to relate and reflect.”

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Sculptures are coil built or fabricated from a single sheet of clay. Terracotta earthenware is Theakston’s clay of choice and she blends this with flax fibers. The fibers strengthen the thin sheets and large figures. A modern version of paper clay, the fibers burn away in the kiln, having served their purpose.

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Although she has focused much of her recent work on primates, the artist’s portfolio boasts a variety of animals, all begging to be understood.

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The photo above shows one of her sheet forms in progress. Theakston supports the clay with a single rod attached to an armature, which is removed before the piece is finished. She paints the sculptures with slips before drying and firing.

Nichola Theakston

dusciana bravura: the geometry of mosaics

Oh, the color! The patterns! The details! I’m wearing a wide grin as I study Dusciana Bravura’s sweet and humorous mosaic sculptures.

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Bravura brings this ancient art form into our modern-day world, creating contemporary sculptures that show both her master-level skills and artistic abilities. Her lighthearted interpretations of animals? Magical.

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In an article on Solo Mosaico, Bravura says, “I spend a lot of time looking at animals and they continue to surprise me with their incredible beauty. I have made many sculptures of animals because I would like to be able to touch them or become close to them, to recreate them one piece at the time, so that through my hand and my work I can understand them better.”

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Hundreds, (maybe thousands?) of glass pieces cover fiberglass forms with geometric patterns. . .my eyes want to linger over every inch, exploring the bursts of color, delighting in the surprises that lie within.

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“The tessera is the cell, the pixel that forms the image, but the base of it is the geometry. Everything in my work has reference to geometry. The tesserae have sizes that repeat again and again to create the harmony that nature demands.”

Dusciana Bravura’s website

Read the article on Solo Mosaico

heather bayless: nesting and unraveling

What is a nest? One definition describes it as “a structure or place made or chosen by a bird for laying eggs and sheltering its young.” That’s likely what comes to mind for many of us when we hear the word.

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Also defined as a snug retreat or refuge; resting place; home”, THIS is the definition that resonates with me right now, as I carefully tend to the monumental task of untangling the nest my parents settled their four young children into more than 50 years ago.

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Stumbling upon Heather Bayless’ sterling silver nests as I move through days and nights, unraveling the threads of my family of origin, I thought her lovely forms a fitting tribute to the responsibility parents embrace as they build their nests. . .

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. . .and the responsibility a child is charged with as she thoughtfully and mindfully puts that house in order, readying it for its next family.

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Bayless’ elegant Sprouting, Hanging, Flutter, Nesting and Balancing Nests beautifully represent this idea of creating safe harbor for our families.

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While I focused on a few of her nests in this post, when you visit her website be sure to take a look at the metalsmith’s other work (Onion, Spotted Pendant II, Spore Shaker to name a few favorites!)

Heather Bayless’ website

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