Reaching for Hope

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REACHING FOR HOPE is part of the “Expressive Hands” Series. Hand built from my own hand- made paper clay and raku fired using three different raku glazes, REACHING FOR HOPE poses a question for the viewer: is the lower hand helping or hindering, raising or pulling down? I must admit that my answer changes from time to time depending on my mood and recent experiences- straddling the thin line between optimism and pessimism. 9 ½” x 4” x 4”

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NIGHT WATCH

(C) JOHN FANSMITH 2017

NIGHT WATCH, a mixed media sculpture and off-shoot of the “Hooded Figure” series, pulls back the hood and adds a helmet, a shield, chain mail, and a torch, thereby moving away from the abstract form of the original pieces in the series to a more detailed and representational expression. Hand built and raku fired paper clay with steel wire, forsythia and Epoxy Sculpt on gneiss and set on an MDF base plate. 7 ½” x 8 ¾” x 3”

SANTA MUERTE #5

(C) JOHN FANSMITH 2017

SANTA MUERTE #5, the fifth, and probably last, piece in the Santa Muerte: Patron Saint of Wall Builders series is my comment on the perceived relation of a religious cult in Mexico to the idea of building a “great” wall on the border. Hand built of paper clay, glazed and fired to Cone 05, w/colored resin, lacquer, and a plastic vulture (it seemed appropriate) added.

 

 

COLLABORATING WITH POLISTES

(C) JOHN FANSMITH 2017

COLLABORATING WITH POLISTES is all about integrating different forms of paper into a sculptural piece. The top portion is a paper wasp nest (genus Polistes) which I found in a Koosa Dogwood tree when the leaves came down last October. The wasps made the paper by mixing plant material and saliva. The base portion is hand built and Raku fired paper clay. I made the paper clay by mixing rehydrated scrap clay and recycled newspapers. Both the wasps and I shaped our portions to meet our particular needs. No wasps were harmed in the making of COLLABORATING WITH POLISTES. 30” x 18” x 10”

 

MASTER WITH ACOLYTES

(C) JOHN FANSMITH 2017

MASTER WITH ACOLYTES is part of my summer exploration of the use of “Hooded Figures”. MASTER WITH ACOLYTES is a small ensemble which uses the same glaze on the individual figures to express what is common and unites them and the differences in scale to divide them and set the relationship between them. Hand built and raku fired paper clay. 11’ x 9” x 6”

THE WORRIED MAN

(C) JOHN FANSMITH 2017

THE WORRIED MAN, another individual piece in my “Hooded Figures” series, gets its title from the expression on its face and from a line (“It takes a worried man…”) in a Kingston Trio song that happened to be playing when I was finishing it. Just seemed appropriate. Hand built and raku fired paper clay. 7” x 3” 2 ½”.

 

Chrystalis

(C) JOHN FANSMITH 2017

CHRYSTALIS, hand built with extruded elements from stoneware and raku fired, gets its title from the combination of two words: chrysalis and crystal. Normally used in reference to one of the life stages of a butterfly, the definition of chrysalis includes “anything in a formative or undeveloped state” a concept represented here by the dark, rough textured, unglazed and amorphous base portion of CHRYSTALIS. In contrast, the top portion, the crystals, is highly formed, smooth, geometrically shaped, glazed and glossy. CHRYSTALIS is all about combining these two disparate concepts in a single image (and then successfully firing it). 7 ½ “ x  10” x 8 ½”