In a world leaning towards the virtual and on-line, there is a need for artists to come together to share their experiences of using tangible materials. The knowledge of the body and use of ‘haptic’ skills are being lost and now is the time for reconnecting with these materials in order to re connect with ourselves, each other and with the environment we live in.
Ceramic sculptor Sharon Griffin aims to use her work to express how we can connect with ourselves and each other using clay as a tool of experiencing the body. Within this short course, Sharon will demonstrate her knowledge of working with clay as an expressive material, one which will release the innate stories of the maker, acting as a mirror to the artist.
Sharon explains that...’ the clay acts as a mirror to our own experiences. Learning how to listen to the clay helps us have a truer understanding of ourselves... we can tell all of our secrets to the clay. It is our truest friend!'
The course content
You will learn to let go of preconceived ideas of what a sculpture ‘should’ be through a series of fast and furious making techniques. Gestural mark-making using found clays, slips and oxides taken from the local landscape will enable you to truly find your freedom and capture expression within the clay material.
Using a combination of found objects and resources such as images, reference photos and books, you will have fun exploring and making a series of playful clay faces and bodies. These playful experiments will provide more in-depth opportunities to explore surfaces and patterns within a unique piece or series of works made within the course.
Sharon will guide you in your personal journey of studying the human form and face to create a unique sculpture, one which explores 3 D formal elements such as weight, shape, form, composition, and texture; all of which will help you tell a story.
We will visit Rome and explore the work of the ancient Greeks, drawing inspiration from the ancients and stories told through artefacts and sculptures. Sketching, photographing, and journaling will help inform your own ideas, not just within the course, but in your future developments as an artist if you so desire.
At the end of the course, you will have the opportunity to take home a unique hand-built sculpture which is individual to you. It may need to be sent out at a later date and can be negotiated as your work develops. You will have learned about the processes of clay, where to dig it, sieve it and use it to create your own piece of work- expressing your own unique story.
Drawing, sketches, and experiments within clay are used to capture feeling and express emotion, captivating your audience with a shared human experience.
Through taking part in this course, Sharon Griffin hopes that you will come away from it with a renewed sense of connectivity, one which connects you to history, the people around you and the landscape you live in.
Aims: How to capture expression and emotion using clay within figurative sculpture
Objectives: At the end of the course you will
- Have learned to PLAY, reconnecting your haptic knowledge and connectivity with the earth and with your own self.
- discover how to use individual and unique to you expressive mark-making to capture emotion and feeling within figurative ceramics
Be inspired by and understand how shape, form and composition can help to tell a story
Techniques we will cover:
- Hand-building using the slab technique to make large scale figures, heads and busts
- Throwing and coiling to capture fluidity and freedom
- Clay digging within the local area of Italy finding and using local materials
- Simple glazing and slip techniques such as sgraffito and brushwork
- ‘raw firing’ to achieve desired surfaces to inform larger sculptural works
- Refining work using step by step processes (wet, leather hard and fired work)
Participants in the workshop will be housed in the remarkably well-preserved Umbrian hill town of Monte Castello di Vibio. Your workshop package is all-inclusive, providing welcome and departure services and airport transfer from the Rome Fiumicino, Leonardo Da Vinci Airport (FCO). Aboard our comfortable private bus, single occupancy accommodations with shared bath (a wide range of upgrades with private bath are available), 3 meals per day Monday-Thursday, Prosecco brunch and dinner on Saturday and Sunday (no meals are served on Friday, our excursion day. Your workshop includes one excursion per week and many additional options are available on weekends for an additional fee. Of course, 24/7 access to facilities and 24/7 bi-lingual support are provided.
This course is suitable for beginners, intermediate and advanced levels but some knowledge of clay is beneficial. Please do feel free to bring sketchbooks and previous drawings to work from but this is not a necessity. For more details, please contact Sharon Griffin at the ICA