Thursday, September 29, 2011

Finding The Elements of Art Outside

As fall begins to transform my yard and the landscape around me, I get excited to go hunting for natural objects I can use in my art. I store them up like a squirrel looking for nuts anticipating projects and experiments I’ll be trying over the winter months.
I usually go looking for two types of natural objects. First, I look for things I can use to make textures in the clay. In my blog, Making Textures in Clay, I showed how I use things like bark, pods and peach seeds to make interesting textures. Nuts and acorns make great textures – whether you use the pointy end or the rough acorn top. I also like long pods from locust trees and spent flowers. Sometimes I use the pod and sometimes it’s the seeds inside the pod that make the best textures.
I also look for natural objects I can use to embellish pieces after they are fired. The witches I make for Halloween always need moss, dried grasses and seeds to add color and visual interest. I can find all sorts of fun “accessories” for my pieces on the ground under trees and along the edges of trails this time of year.
Occasionally, it’s not the bits and pieces I gather than inspire my creations. It’s the amazing natural phenomena I encounter along my walks. This enormous spider web has me thinking about a fun clay project I can make with intricate spiders and their webs. 
I’m looking forward to the fall projects we’ll share on the blog – spiders, textures and Halloween tricks and treats. So get out and start gathering your supplies and we’ll put them to good use in October!

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