First of all, very sorry for my radio silence of late. I’ve been struggling to find time to post on here since I began my ceramics degree at TAFE, but I am hopeful things won’t be as crazy going forward. It is all a question of managing my time, and I am slowly learning to do it better. ANYWAY… I’m back! And what better than with a really interesting piece in progress I’m very excited about. I present you my Guggenheim vase, unglazed (can’t wait for the vibrant colours to show up and the pencil lines to disappear).
The vase is very tall, almost 40cm (biggest vase I have ever made). Being so big I just HAD to do something really special to it. Enter Pinterest! And this 1975 cover of the New Yorker by Laura Jean Allen. It was pinned to one of my boards over a year ago, probably waiting for the right moment to say “this could be a GOOOD idea”. I spent all of today researching the collection at the Guggenheim, designing the vase and having an absolute ball. Below is but one of the pages of my sketchbook filled with inspiration for today’s piece.
This isn’t my first museum-inspired piece (MoMA, Met, Prado), but I think the reason why the Guggenheim has been in the back of my mind these past days is because of the current exhibition in NYC: Gutai: Splendid Playground. You must agree with me it looks absolutely brilliant. I love how certain ideas resonate and linger in my mind for a while until I do something about them. Sadly, I always have more ideas than time to carry them out… Ah well 😉
In the heart of Sydney’s central business district (or “CBD”, as it is known here), lies this sensuous 19th century shopping centre. Queen Victoria Building’s interior design is wonderfully lush and romantic, just look at its lifts:
I had originally gone to buy ink for my fountain pen, but spent longer than expected looking at everything the place has to offer. From Aboriginal art galleries,
to a Viennese cafe, Klimt reproductions on the walls and Sacher torte included.
There’s also an abundance of jewelry shops – look at the size of the Australian baroque pearls of this necklace oh la la!
And believe it or not, there’s a shop that specialises in tin soldiers!
However, my biggest surprise came when I saw a Metropolitan Museum shop! With classic gifts and merchandising one would buy in New York, this shop was fully stocked.
And in case you missed my posts here and here, I do find a lot of inspiration in museums for my porcelain bowls. For a second time, the Met was subject of my work:
NOTE: All photos by Araceli Robledo
After immersing myself in the fabulous world of Brideshead Revisited for a recent bowl, it’s not surprising that a Venetian element would appear on one of my pieces. Below are pictures of my still pre-glazed Venetian Palaces bowl, the largest of the pieces that will be available for purchase at my sale this Saturday. The first picture is a true work-in-progress snapshot, where you can see my original pencil illustration on the bowl:
And here’s a view of one side of the bowl:
And the other side… Can’t wait to see how it will turn out when it comes out of the kiln on Friday morning!!
So after selling my worldly possessions (or at least attempting to), I’m now completely focused on preparing for my ceramics sale. I have a glazing deadline (Tuesday 9th), which always helps in order to get things done. This also means I have A LOT of painting to do in the meantime! Here’s a picture of my latest painted piece unglazed:
Yes, it’s the gorgeous Brideshead in the background with Sebastian and Charles driving in the middle. The porcelain is the ever-so difficult frost, but when fired a second time, will be beautifully translucent white. Here’s the sketch I did beforehand:
I now have a date and venue for the sale! And it will be on Saturday, October 13th from 2pm to 6pm at 50 Portland Street. Details on new poster will be posted soon.
As mentioned in a post from last year, cottaging (not to be confused with the British “cottaging“) is a VERY Canadian thing to do. The summer is now sadly coming to an end and so to make the most of the warm weather, a few friends and I rented a cottage in Georgian Bay, a couple of hours north of Toronto. This was our cottage:
And these are the different shades of grey (and blue and, quite possibly, turquoise! 😉 ) the sky and lake spoilt us with:
We ate, drank, played scrabble, went for long walks along the beach and were merry. I even found a bit of time to do some embroidery on the deck:
Herewith my progress:
NOTE: All photos by Araceli Robledo
I can happily say I spent the entire bank holiday weekend making and eating gazpacho, watching the entire season 5 of Mad Men (isn’t the season finale simply amazing?)
Looking after two adorable dogs (a French bulldog called Bruce Lee and Coco, the pug)
And beginning a very new creative project: embroidery! Obviously, as it’s always about ME, I thought the best image I could begin with was one of my own creations. All the fantastic supplies (including material and embroidery hoop) were purchased at The Workroom. Here’s a picture of the piece in progress. It took me countless hours to do JUST THAT, so I foresee this being the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
I spent the last day of my Spanish holiday in Madrid. And a quick visit to Madrid MUST always include at least one trip to one of the top 3 museums: Prado, Reina Sofia and Thyssen-Bornemizsa.
Above is an extremely bright picture of the Velazquez entrance to the Prado Museum. It was a very sunny day and someone (who will not be named) tampered with the settings on my camera. The result? EXTREMELY bright pictures which hurt to look at – this is the only one that sort of survived… ANYWAY, below is an image of the exterior of the Prado Museum bowl I recently painted.
Unfortunately I did not take photographs of the interior of the bowl finished (of which I am INCREDIBLY proud and feel equally stupid for not doing my photographic homework as this piece now lives somewhere else). The only snapshots are of the paintings in progress, as you can still see the pencil outlines that are normally removed when the piece is fired. When referring to the collection at the Prado (which originally belonged to the Spanish royal family), I had to include a Velazquez. And if one is to paint a Velazquez, one should go big: so Las Meninas it was! (Please note that I studied Art History in Spain and, therefore, in Spanish. So the names of the works will be in Spanish as that is the way I learnt them!) Another painter whose work is a must is El Greco and I chose his El Caballero de la mano en el pecho.
Below is an image of the other side of the bowl. On the left is Goya’s La Maja Desnuda and on the right El Descendimiento by Rogier van der Weyden. When I showed the finished bowl to my family and friends in Spain, they all guessed 3 out of the 4 paintings, except for van der Weyden’s piece. However, I can’t help but think which ones would be recognized by my Canadian friends. Particularly as the last time I put them to the test, all but one of them thought that the Matisse painting in my MoMA bowl was actually a Picasso… Snob? Me? No way!
Since I have taken up ceramics, I no longer buy presents for anyone. I MAKE presents. During my last trip to Spain this month, I brought bowls for my mother and siblings as presents. This is the last picture taken of the bowls, which was immediately after they came out of the kiln (and half an hour before I dashed off to the airport afraid I’d missed my flight!):
In clockwise order is a bowl that depicts the church of San Miguel in our village. This is a particularly special parish for my family as it’s where my grandparents, great-grandparents and sister Rocio got married. My mother was baptized there as well. And to make it even more special, my late father did this gorgeous painting of it years ago:
The next bowl depicts another very special building for our family: the Mezquita in Cordoba. My newlywed parents settled in a village not far from the Andalusian city of Cordoba and the Mezquita was always a place of great inspiration for my father’s work. Here’s one of his paintings from 1976:
And here are a couple of images that document the painting of the bowl. First the inside:
and then the outside:
In the last bowl I wanted to depict all of the birds we had as pets while living in Australia. Here’s an image of it still in process:
And although my father did not do a painting of our pets as such, this illustration by Miroslav Sasek from his book This is Australia pretty much captures the relationship we had with them:
Needless to say, my family LOVED their presents.
On our last day in NY, we visited Columbia University and Harlem. I took the highest number of photographs that day, so I guess that shows quite accurately how much I loved both areas.
Columbia University campus (pictured above and below) is simply stunning. If the architecture alone weren’t enough, the notable list of its alumni is impressive enough to leave anyone bewildered. Jack Kerouac, whose On the Road I’m currently reading, is part of the list.
From there we walked to Harlem. The closer we got there, the cleaner and wider the streets and the friendlier the people. I saw many a brownstone:
But this is my favourite:
Probably because it reminds me of West Side Story and I was somehow expecting Bernardo and his gang to appear (and dance).
Naturally, as with things I really REALLY like, I had to do a watercolour of it:
NOTE: All photos by Araceli Robledo, except from the West Side Story clip, which is via On the set of New York
The main purpose of my trip to NYC was to attend a workshop at the ceramics institution that is Greenwich House Pottery. Not only did it not disappoint, it was probably one of the best workshops I have ever taken. And I take A LOT of workshops!
Our teacher, the amazing ceramic artist Munemitsu Taguchi, was top notch. Here he is throwing:
I went back to my studio today to put in practice all that I learnt. Not only was I faster at making vessels, I centred them almost immediately and somehow enjoyed the process more! Here’s a picture of the final 6 that I made at the workshop and are being bisqued:
The location of Greenwhich House Pottery was perfect for some neighbourhood exploration. Like the fantastic wine shop, Winesby, across the road:
Beautiful tree-lined streets with gorgeous townhouses:
And stunning apartment blocks:
NOTE: All photos by Araceli Robledo