Artist Statement: Much of my most recent work includes sculptural imagery taken from the Japanese art of Bonsai. There are traditional rules, but countless variations in the way a Bonsai artist will shape the life and death balance present in each tree over time. This piece has been inspired by an actual Bonsai of the Informal Slanting Style, and stands 19 inches tall by 11 inches wide.
The piece has been entirely handbuilt with stoneware clay. The tree's image is drawn directly onto the clay, and major forms (trunk, limbs) are pushed out dimensionally from the interior, while the clay is still semi-moist. Details and edges of forms are carved into the surface, or pressed into the clay with various found or handmade textural objects. The entire piece is coated with a number of colored clay slips (essentially painting onto clay with liquid clay), and finished with a black slip. The final surface of the trunk and limbs is achieved by scrubbing through layers of slip with a damp, fine natural sponge.
The process described above is illustrated in the 4 accompanying photos. After the initial firing, black underglaze is rubbed into the foliage areas, the interior is coated with traditional glaze, and the piece is fired for a second time.