Learn from the masters. That's what artists do. Young or old, seasoned creators or complete beginners, people look to past masterpieces to understand and often replicate the style of great works of art. That's the scenario that played out at the Georgia Museum of Art as they wrapped up their showing of Women, Art, and Social Change: The Newcomb Pottery Enterprise. More than 180 works--ranging from pottery to jewelry to textiles and made by a new class of emerging female artisans in the post-Civil War South--are included in the Smithsonian's traveling exhibition. One of those works became the inspiration for a student at the University of Georgia. Here's Patrick's story . . .
"I love ceramics. This is my third ceramics course, and I plan on pursuing a minor in Studio Art. I really liked all of the work in the Newcomb Pottery show, but I became fascinated with a tall vase adorned with daffodils. The shape of the vessel accentuated the daffodil blooms, and the flowers had great movement. I also enjoyed the simple but vibrant colors used to decorate the vase: blues, greens, whites, and yellows.
In my efforts to make my own version of the tall vase, I threw its body on the wheel in two parts. Then, I smoothed the surface and worked on creating the right shape. After waiting for the vase to become leather hard, I began to carve the designs into the surface. I made a stencil of each and transferred the outline of each to the vase. I imagined that the Newcomb artists would have used a similar technique to achieve the expert spacing and symmetry in their artwork. After the vase was bisque fired, I applied underglaze to the surface. This is the way the original piece's surface was treated as well. I tried to use similar tones that were appropriate with the other artwork in the show. I then sprayed the surface with a clear glaze that made the surface shiny."
The original vase that inspired Patrick (seen at bottom right) was painted by Harriet Coulter Joor (1875-1965), who received a Bachelor's of Science degree from Newcomb College (now Newcomb College Institute of Tulane Unversity in New Orleans). She was a pottery designer from 1901-04 and from 1905-06.
Have YOU been inspired by a work of art in one our traveling exhibitions? Give us a shout on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. And check out more of the original pottery in the exhibition, a collaboration with Newcomb Art Gallery.