Wednesday, October 15, 2014

that the stars are adamant

I have come to realise over time that when I paint, I am, essentially, travelling. I go to far off lands and see things. I see structures and mountains; sometimes a horizon and a bird in flight or rain on forgotten hills. Sometimes I can feel the breeze and am filled with wonder. It's that feeling in the pit of your stomach when you are in a new and mysterious place. As with all travel, emotions run high. Sometimes a painting is heavy with sentiment and sometimes it is light, filled with delight. I feel as though I am searching for something as I add layers of paint. Often what lies before me seems to be universal; the human condition trying to find its place in the universe. In all this travelling, I am reminded of my humanness, my insignificance and the vastness inside me.

that the stars are adamant,
acrylic on paper, 18x24", 2014 ©priya vadhyar

*Notes: The title 'that the stars are adamant' comes from the poem 'A Life' by Edith Sรถdergran.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

potter files: the results are in (part 1)

Yes, the results are in. Or rather, they're out ... of the kiln. The pots and bowls have turned out really beautiful. Each one is full of surprises - the colour gradation and freckles on the mustard coloured vase; the lovely gash on the red one; the blue ring on the base of the bowl with the leaf; the marks on the lidded jar; the way the the lid and the base of the same jar coloured differently. But then happy accidents are very much a part of ceramics. Many variables come together to give you a final output. The glaze moves when it is fired, so it will interact with the contour of the bisqueware and the application of wax and additional layers of glaze. The placement of your piece in the kiln, the size of the piece sitting next to yours, the exposure to heat etc. also influence how your vase will turn out. You have to be prepared to be surprised. (ha ha..)

By the end of class I made quite a few things, so I am dividing this post into two parts. The second post with the rest of the ceramic pieces will be up soon.

Did I mention that I'm taking this class with Donna Lansman at Columbia Art Center again? This time we are starting with tea pots. This means we'll turn cylinders into the body of the pot, and we will learn to make the lid, the handle and of course the spout. Exciting stuff.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

in a landscape. unexpected.

This is an early piece from the new series I started last year. It started out as a scribble; a loosening of the wrist. Soon the sketch started responding and taking shape as I kept working. At one point I worked on it upside down. I did that for a while. When I turned it to the current orientation, I saw that the sketch had come to life.

The title of this piece is 'In a Landscape. Unexpected.', and the medium is water-soluble graphite on paper.

in a landscape. unexpected.
water-soluble graphite on paper, 18x24", 2013, ©priya vadhyar

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

once upon a breeze, a magpie

once upon a breeze, a magpie
acrylic on paper, 18x24", 2013 ©priya vadhyar

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

potter files - learning the language of clay

Columbia Art Center (CAC), where I have been volunteering for the last ten months, offers a number of ceramics classes. These classes range from beginner to advanced levels, and are taught by experienced ceramic artists. The ceramics studio is huge. It has a line of potter's wheels, a glazing room, kilns - the works (see images below). Since ceramics has always held my attention, I decided to take the introduction to wheel throwing class.

My teacher for this class is Donna Lansman. I have enjoyed learning a new skill with Donna, who is a fun person to work with and a teacher with immense patience. For the last six weeks she has been teaching my class the language of clay. We have learned to wedge, center, pull and collar, and make a host of things. I have made bowls and cylinders, vases, sealed jars and other objects.

Working on the wheel is fun. To watch the block of clay emerge as a form is mesmerising. Nothing short of magical. But learning to work with clay has also meant that many pieces have fallen apart along the way. Sometimes I went in too deep, sometimes uneven pressure while pulling up the clay created thin spots. At times the clay was not centered, which made the piece lopsided and unstable. I am sure that with time, patience and lots of practice the pots and bowls I make will be centered, strong and even.

For now here are a few bowls and pots I made. Soon these pieces will be glazed. Then they will be off to the kiln for firing. Stay tuned for the final output.

potter's wheels and a ceramic artist at work

glaze swatches