Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Work in Progress: Karen Shapley

Karen Shapley is an artist who is equally happy to work with textiles or in clay, combining the two disparate mediums to create her distinctive pieces of work. For her Daphne's Glove piece, Karen has chosen to work in clay, fabric and stitch once more.
The kiln door has opened and we've been allowed to take a look inside...
"The pieces you see here are the ceramics I have in progress at the moment. They came out of the kiln yesterday and have been washed in red iron oxide - hence there pink tones. Once glazed the red changes to browns and picks out the detail of impressed fabrics which I use to create texture. It also gives an aged feel to the object. The cups and saucers are for another gallery but I am hoping you can make out some of the characters in the background! I haven't yet decided which is going to be the one to tell Daphne's story although I have an idea. At this stage I try and keep my options open incase any accidents occur!"
"Clay has a life and when you make something from it it feels alive. As the clay dries, to me the object becomes almost dead, lifeless and uninteresting. When it first comes out of the kiln I don't like it because it has no character. The first stage of bringing it back to life is washing it in iron oxide, then leaving it to dry for a few days before applying the glaze. It's not until it comes out of the glaze firing that you see the item spring back into life. For me to share these images with you at this point is quite tough because the work feels flat and not at it's best!"

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