Nature is pretty darn interesting and makes beautiful artifacts. I’ve been collecting images of plant seeds and seed pods for visual reference to use in my ceramic work. This direction is a new one for me, but one near and dear to my heart as a former landscape designer and Colorado Master Gardener. I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to translate these to clay, but decided to use the winter months to experiment and the following ceramic seed pod wall art trio is the first incarnation.
Originally, I started this exploration with the intent of making ceramic garden stakes for use outdoors. Each one has a hole in the back in which I planned to attach a 3 foot long rod that could be planted in the dirt of a garden bed.
Being a bit of a pack rat, I had saved a dried lotus flower seed head that came in a flower arrangement I had received last year for future use. I think the form is interesting and provided a jumping off point to begin sculpting.
Making the ceramic seed pods was slow going for me. I’m a novice sculptor and translating the likeness of a seed pod is tricky.
In fact, I asked myself why I would even want to try? It’s not to improve upon an already interesting form, but I want to translate the essence of nature’s artifacts at a larger scale for permanence and decoration.
Decorating and Glazing
When I was sculpting these, I learned some (new to me) techniques that abstracted the forms in clay.
Throughout the process, I continually reminded myself that these were destined for the soda kiln at the Colorado Potters Guild. I thought about how to glaze the forms and how the soda ash would affect the surface of the ceramic seed pods.
Final Finished Ceramic Seed Pods
When we unloaded the kiln about a week and a half ago, my firing partners remarked that these would be really interesting as wall art. While I originally designed these as garden stakes, I have to agree. I make a lot of ceramic wall installations and would like to expand this direction and think that this is a good start.
On a technical note, the two enclosed forms on the right hand side of the photo above are rather heavy. I have some technical issues to resolve and think that working with paper clay would help lighten the sculptures.
With that in mind, I picked up a new book on paper clay by Rosette Gault to learn a bit more about the medium. I haven’t been able to dive in, but am really excited about the possibilities!