For us, the secret to discovering Barcelona’s artistic & architectural beauty isn’t about looking up – it’s about looking down. The ornate floor tiles are everywhere: sidewalks, inside simple cafes and of course the magnificently decorated Gaudi buildings.
Ubud, Bali, Indonesia: The first piece of pottery I picked up in Bali was finished in raku. I fell in love with its smoke wreathed finish and scratched surface arterial lines, and knew I wanted to experiment with making pieces in this style. By chance, we stopped by Gaya Ceramics 3 days before its 2-week raku immersion workshop started, and I was able to get a spot in class.
Gaya’s open-air space is beautifully designed in a traditional Javanese joglo. Artists & instructors from around the world who chose to dedicate their lives & careers to ceramics are a part of the Gaya community. An American painter, potter & textile artist, Hillary Kane, runs the center. Hillary instructed us each day as we were hand building & throwing clay on the wheel, but for me personally, she also served as an inspiration for how to live an arts & crafts-driven life across the globe.
Each day of the workshop, I felt closer to the elements: my hands in the dirt & water, and finishing the clay with fire & smoke. There’s something really rough & raw about this, and it brought me back to what I love about designing & creating art. Also, being back in a studio environment fueled me. This is my place, and I love being able to draw inspiration from other artists. This intensive 2-week period got me thinking even more seriously about future ceramics scenarios and exploring the arts across the rest of our year abroad.
Finished work to follow…
Ubud, Bali, Indonesia: I needed to get back to working with my hands again. Pottery, like painting, is multi-layered and textured. I felt like I could work with pottery in much the same way I work with paint, while also adding in the creation of an object, a third dimension. It’s hands-on, lots of touching, messy and muddy. A perfect extension of what I’d already been doing with wax, paint and canvas. So for the last 3 weeks, I’ve been taking a pottery class to learn the basics of how to hand build some foundational pieces, throw clay, work on the wheel, understand how colors and glazes work and the art of firing. It’s wonderful to be back in a studio environment, creating something and being in between colors and dips. Already I’m feeling comfortable with this, and could see it becoming my next form of meditation. Now that the basics are covered, I start a 2-week immersion program on Raku, a 16th century Japanese firing method. I can’t help but notice the word Raku translates to ‘joy and happiness.’
Ubud, Bali, Indonesia: One of the reasons we chose Ubud was for its arts community. Expat artists have been coming here since the 1920s. We knew there would be no shortage of museums, galleries and artists offering workshops and studio time to visitors like us. I chose to focus my art project on batik because I’ve always been interested in fabric making and textiles. Before leaving the States, my only textile-related activity was knitting. One of the things I love about knitting is picking out beautifully colored silk, wool or cotton yarns and seeing them come together in an eclectic pattern and fabric. So, it wasn’t a big leap to want to experiment further with color, fabrics and making new patterns with Balinese batik.…