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rachel dein: fossils from every day life

I was initially intrigued by Rachel Dein’s work, then impressed by the simplicity of a process that offers beautiful results when utilized by an artist with vision and passion for the materials and the technique.

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Adapting a glass casting technique she learned in college, Dein presses objects into wet clay and pours combinations of plaster and concrete over the clay, creating highly detailed sculptural tiles.

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Her favorite materials to cast are flowers and leaves, though she has been commissioned to create tiles casting baby clothes, lace and other items of deep personal significance (an idea I love. . .).

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The artist uses watercolors to add subtle color to many of the tiles, leaving others unpainted to entice us to look more closely as shadows play among the lines of what might be considered the 3 dimensional equivalent of black and white photographs.

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Her compositions range from simple, like the process itself (see the carrot tile above), to complex, like a field of wildflowers, grasses and leaves in nature, to other-worldly interpretations of plant life. All revealing the graceful lines and movements of objects we see in our world every day.

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“I enjoy the magic of plaster casting to create fossils from everyday life — whether it’s a shell found on holiday, your grandmother’s treasured lace, a Christening gown, or the flowers from your wedding” 

Rachel Dein’s website


what can i do for you?

susan lomutoI’m passionate about nurturing artists. One of the ways I do that is to build websites for artists – a compelling, creative online showcase for you to share your gifts with the larger world.

I work on a limited number of projects at a time to ensure you get my full attention and I think creatively to remove barriers and accommodate your individual vision.

I am also available as a consultant, coach and curator. Drop me a line and let’s talk about what I can do for you.

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

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