Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Lotus Emerges - A Ceramic Tile Sculpture

Lotus Emerges, a handmade sculpture with handmade ceramic tiles, 4'5" by 4' by 6",  2021

Above photo shows the sculpture installed on Main Street in Alamosa, Colorado. It is part of the 2021/22 Artscape Sculpture Program. Vote for your favorite art via the city website here:

The lotus is an exquisite flower that easily captivates whomever casts their eyes upon it. In nature it emerges from muddy, murky waters to bloom into a perfectly clean flower. Because of this it has come to symbolize purity and has become a much loved symbol of beauty in various cultures, all having a somewhat different interpretation. 
Above are the renderings for my sculpture proposal prior to it being completed.
What I love about this flower is that it follows the cycle of light, opening up during the day and closing at night – rebirth is a symbol that I am particularly drawn to. The lotus flower inspires me to begin each day fresh and clean. Furthermore, it is a sign of enlightenment – breaking through the darkness. I love looking back on the times when I broke through the darkness inside, learned something new about life around me or about myself. For me the lotus is a beautiful reminder of the potential we have when we open up to the light.”

The sculptural form is built from plywood, white foam, mesh and is covered in exterior foam coat from the Hotwire Foam Factory.

There is a custom-made steel base inserted into the center of the sculptural form. It is in there permanently.

I created all of the unique ceramic tiles in my studio. I hand rolled the clay, cut out each shape and added patterns to each tile by hand before the bisque fire. Then I glazed all the tiles. I love the final part, opening the kiln for the grand reveal of the completed tiles.

Here I am laying out the first set of tiles on top of my blueprint for the pattern.

This was my favorite of the tiles for the first side of the sculpture.

It was so exciting to see one side of the sculpture ready for gluing.

Here are the tiles for the second side of the sculpture. After the first firing, I didn't like the way some of the tiles turned out so I had to reglaze some of these. It was well worth it as I loved they way they came out on the second go around. 

I loved examining each tile and arranging it into my pattern.

These bigger shapes were my favorite on this side. The whimsical, organic feel of them was mesmerizing to me.

On the left, I am holding the tile and on the right you can see the tile installed onto the sculpture which is grouted in that photo. 
On the left is my son Ethan, inspecting my layout before I glue down each tile. On the right, I am inspection from above after I glued all the pieces down, making sure that all the spacing feels right.

Here I am with the finished sculpture with Side B facing forward. All the tiles have been glued and the mosaic has been grouted.

My younger son Wesley, running past the sculpture.

Angle View of Side B of the finished sculpture. 
Detail view of the tiled sculpture on Side B.
Another angle view of the sculpture Side B.

The same angle view of the sculpture but of Side A.

Another angle view of the sculpture's Side A. 

Detail view of Side A.
Wesley stealing the attention from the finished art ... once again =)

After finishing the sculpture, I decided that this was the Side A of the sculpture. It was a difficult choice as I love both sides, plus originally, the other side was intended to be Side A. But I was drawn to the vibrant blue hue of the tiles on this side. That's what swayed me to choose this as the primary side, if there needed to be one. But the sculpture is 2 sided and intended for both to be equally enjoyed by the viewers. Further more, the circular cutouts encourage the viewers to look forward, through the sculpture, as if they are looking toward a brighter future.

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