From March through November I worked on a commission for the Blue Skies Community Fiddle Orchestra.
I first researched all the photos I could find of the orchestra. Because of the pandemic I did not have the option of going to events, and sketching in person, so I made sketches from these photos. Information on seating of the orchestra, came from members.
As with all my work, I am not working for realism, but the feel of a group of musicians making music together, thanks to the dedicated work of their conductor.
I rolled out large slabs of clay. Then drew the images from my sketches into the clay slabs. From here I added clay arms, fiddles, faces….
After months of carving, I was ready to add colour, of underglazes and masonry stains. Blue first – then yellows and browns, green & black.
When I was happy with the first layers of colour – the pieces were bisque fired to cone ^06. Again taking months to ponder, until I feared adding more colour.
After bisque fired more underglazes were added. Details, many which faded in the glaze fire… always a part of my process. Once I am satisfied – or again afraid if I add more it will detract, I spray thin layers of clear glaze, and load the kiln for the final firing.
This piece was very large 19″ x 38″, so needed a secure framing structure. I mounted it on a veneered plywood, with oak frame. Created by my most excellent partner in life. Once mounted and vanished – It was ready to go.
I was very luck to be able to be part of a zoom call, when this was delivered. What a rare change to see the way Blue Skies Community Fiddle Orchestra cares for each other, under the loving care of their conductor. Definitely a once in a lifetime experience, that I will treasure.