What is Art?

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I made a ceramic plaque once, illustrating a dream, or was it a shamanic journey? to the moon. Either way, it was thoroughly deep and meaningless.  I was in the shape of an owl, and I remember feeling very strange.

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Never sold, but much admired. I like it that this very personal object is being re-claimed by the parrots.
Nibbled to bits, in fact.

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I always found it so difficult to adhere to this notion of ‘Art’ being separate from daily life.  I like the idea of being able to produce work, but I want to do so anonymously, without big ego and without big money being involved. I would like a daily rate as a crafts person. That would be sweet.
I remember reading about when Picasso and Apollinaire stole the Mona Lisa in 1911 and then couldn’t figure out what to do with it. It think it was stuck in a squat for several years before it was finally returned to the Louvre.. This was before ‘Art’ became big business and Art dealers entered the scene for real.

But I think something was lost when ‘Art’ became part of the money scene. Because art is not , to my mind . created solely by the artist. It is a privilege for some people to be able to keep their ears to the ground and hear the beating heart beneath the dust. Someone whispers sweet nothings in our ear and we go forth and we  make it visible. On a good day, that is.
C. S. Lewis once said ‘there’s only one Creator and we mix’. I believe that is the function of the artist; to mix the archetypical elements and produce something new.
There is a tremendous amount of anonymity involved in that. To see and acknowledge that ‘I’ am nothing but an alchemist, an interpreter, makes leaving  the Ego far behind a necessity.
I see patterns, and I play with them.

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Nibble away, my friends.

www.annakeiller.com

 

 

 

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Smoke fired Fat Bird sculptures

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A clutch of Fat Bird sculptures from the smoke bin.

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The bird sculptures look a lot different once they have been cleaned up

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The Fat Birds are all around 5 ” tall and about equally wide.

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There were also a few Little Owls. They are about 2,5′ tall. I used manganese, copper and red iron oxide to achieve the colours.

To see more please visit my website at www.annakeiller.com

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Ceramic Plaques, smoke firing

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I made this ceramic plaque last summer. It is a self portrait with a black dog and a dragon fly . The plaque is made using paper clay. I rather like this medium because you can make really detailed work and you can also add wet clay to dry which is great if you work slowly, or want to change bits around, adding or detracting.

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So, I recently glazed this plaque after months of agonizing.
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So, that was a bit unnecessary, then.
I decided the best thing to do would be to throw it in with my Fat Birds in the smoke firing bin.

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and this morning…
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It is a brutal process.
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But despite a bit falling off, I think I still prefer my Black Dog smoke fired.
The Fat Birds came out great. I will upload them soon.

www.annakeiller.com

 

 

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Studio view

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Sneezing, coughing  and sipping lemsip, I never the less emptied the kiln this morning. Clutching my head and moaning a lot. Man, I just hate having a cold.

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I had fired up overnight, and this is the results of a few weeks work trying to capture the view from my studio window. Plus a few Little Owls and Fat Birds from a commission.
The work is only half finished; some details are glazed, but much remain to be done.  The tiles are tests, mainly, to see what is what.

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The tiles to the right are coloured with engobe, which is essentially a clay sludge mixed with mineral oxides. Mainly cobalt and some black stains. I am happy with the colours of some of the clouds.

The tiles to the left are a mixture of glazes and engobes.

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The big question is; do I like the red frame? Everything will be thrown into one of my metal dustbins, covered in sawdust and set alight.

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That should shake things up a bit. Smoke firing tend to alter the colours of the ceramics . I have written about that a few times in this blog; here is an example.
The colours often become more glowing and they tend to merge a bit. When the whole thing doesn’t crack and break, of course.
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This is a detail of a smoke fired bowl, straight out of the dustbin. I love the sooty deposits.

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And here it is cleaned up. It was incredibly orange before the smoke firing – it still is, but less so.
I am talking to myself about the red frame around the view, really. Will it still be too lairy after the barrelling, or will it calm down? Decisions, decisions.

www.annakeiller.com

 

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Airborne Art Critics

I suddenly acquired some Cocatiels a while back – I saw them sitting in a small cage in a dark stuffy room and, well, you know.
Besides, I had seen these compelling ‘tiel  videos on YouTube, the ones where the plucky little creatures play the piano and sing the national anthem while wrestling with the cat.  It had to be done.

When I got them home, they hid in their little nest box for days and refused to budge. Then, when hunger finally drove them out and they felt confident enough to start exploring their new home, they dropped on to the floor of my studio where they ran around like feathered little mice for several days.

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They didn’t even know how to fly. Somebody had cut their wings and they lurched and flopped like mutilated bumblebees. But.

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Pretty soon they figured out how to make use of all the props in my studio to launch themselves into the air. Here they are sitting on my ceramic torsos. The problem I have with that plot is that they tend to nibble a bit on anything available.

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They love clay, it seems. I don’t really mind a lot of the time. But I guess I will have to construct some safe space for my sculpture work to dry out, eventually. At the moment I am busy experimenting, so most of my work gets trashed anyway.

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A lot of it by this little fellow, Bo-Bo.

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They are settling in, I would say.
And so they need to think to the future. They began to set up home in the curtains, but then re-discovered their nesting box.

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Bo-Bo will dive into the box and there will be an awful lot of crashing and banging going on inside it. I do not know what he is up to, but I guess he may be busy putting up shelves or laying down a new floor. What do I know.
Meanwhile, the female will be sitting outside on a perch, screeching at the top of her voice. This bit I can do without – it is ear piercing.
Then, finally, out he pops and she will shoot inside to inspect the new home improvements…. And meanwhile, he is sat on the perch outside the entrance, wolf whistling. I am not making this up. He really knows how to wolf whistle.
But, he never got the box right. Or so it would seem.

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So then they discovered a new nest. A biig nest! The biggest nest, ever!
And he is busy biting strips of my shelves to create a lovely warm space inside the bowl. I think his efforts are meeting with her approval.
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No eggs as of yet, but who knows what is going on inside the minds of these curious birds?

To see some of my un-nibbled ceramic work, please go to www.annakeiller.com

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Ceramic workshops, two on one

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I no longer run big ceramic workshops but I love the smaller one on two or one on one workshops where people come to my studio in Hastings to produce a certain piece of work or just to play a bit with clay.

This weekend Francoise and her mother turned up and we had a really nice time. Here is Francoise making a sculpture of Ganesh.

To book, please contact me at studio at annakeiller dot com. Or here

www.annakeiller.com

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Studio view; the worship continues.

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So. How do you capture that in clay, then.

www.annakeiller.com

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Obsessively recording the view…

 

It has been a while since I last posted, and I apologize. But I seem to have fallen into a helpless state of worship; I cannot stop looking at the clouds, the sea;  even the silently waiting trees outside my window leave me feeling faint with love.

I am talking about the view from my studio.
I have this desire to enter the scene – the earth itself drives me mad as I pound the clay on my table, drawing pictures that of course are rubbish. Well, you have to start somewhere.

 

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I am trying to find a format; framed?

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Or unframed?

Does it even matter? I need to draw the images until I can stop making sense and just capture the essence.

I know I want to smoke fire the plaques, and I know that they will be mainly monochrome. I am making all these glaze tests; silver, white, grey, brown – shiny or matte. It really is a lot of fun. But it is playing havoc with my social life.

www.annakeiller.com

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Mandarin Oriental Commission

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I was commissioned to design two arches for the main lobby at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Taipei a while back. The project was part of a two year hotel refurbishment, and the results were unveiled earlier this autumn.
I’ve only just been given this image showing both arches, so I thought I’d upload it and show it to you.

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The brief started off as a request to design porcelain flowers for a ceiling, but money became an issue and we ended up with two arches instead. I only designed the molds; the actual porcelain flowers were produced at a pottery in China.

I wish someone would commission me to create a ceiling, though. Or a wall…! I would enjoy that.

www.annakeiller.com

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Ceramic Christmas gifts!

I always seem to be a few steps behind evolution, but I twig that Christmas is upon us. One of these days I will locate my fairy lights and put them up around the house.

In the meantime, people have been visiting my studio to buy Ceramic Christmas gifts.

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This ceramic angel sculpture flew out of my studio today, winging her way to a new home.
The dimensions are app 60 cm x 75 cm. and she has a  mother-of pearl luster finish.

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The same couple also bought a wall sconce, dimensions 52 cm x 39.
This one is about the forest floor on a hot, sunny summer’s day.

If you would like to visit my studio in Hastings to view my sculptures or commission a ceramic torso, a bowl, fat bird or any other piece of sculpture then please get in touch.

www.annakeiller.com

 

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