If you’ve followed along over the past year while I attempted to make some extra large Rock Candy pieces, you’ll know that it was a challenge, but eventually I succeeded. I was able to make a selection of pieces that had no cracks or flaws, but there was a whole pile of pieces that didn’t make the cut. They’ve hung around the studio for long enough now, so it was time to get rid of them. So what do I do with all the unsuccessful pieces?
I hate garbage, I am always looking for a way to reuse, upcycle, repurpose or recycle everything and fired clay is no exception. While it could just go into the general landfill, I discovered that many refuse sites will accept ceramics in a separate pile where you would also put toilets, sinks and tiles. They grind up all the ceramics material and use it as an aggregate for compacting roads around the site or elsewhere. So if you have a bunch of broken ceramics from your studio be sure to check out if your local refuse center will separate it for use and you’ll give your not-so-great experiments another life.
I met Nikolina when I was an artist in residence in Stöðvarfjörður, Iceland. We spent a month there being simply wowed by the natural beauty of eastern Iceland. Nika created an amazing series of monochromatic paintings on aluminum panels in lighting speed all inspired by the landscape, waterfalls and bits of nature she found while hiking. She even attempted to learn a little Icelandic, while I was happy to be able to pronounce the name of our town correctly. You can see her works from Iceland here.
We stayed in touch over the years and I watched her paint her way through a South American backpacking trip with adorable alpacas and vast landscapes. She then launched into her current series of work, Utopian Reefs after becoming a certified scuba diver. She uses her art as a vehicle to educate and inspire others to protect the planet. I love following along with her travels, her art and her contagious optimism on life, so I had to share with you all.
Nika’s work stems from an interest in humanity’s psychological connection with Nature and strives to expose the consequences our everyday actions have on the environment. Her subjects range from global warming, deforestation and coral bleaching, to processing and interpreting visual landscape and cultural associations.
Learn more about her process and concepts for her latest series Utopian Reefs:
To add her work to your collection visit: www.nikolinakovalenko.com or follow her on IG at @nikolinakovalenko
Artists Sharing Artists: is a series of posts where I share some of my favorite artists who are also inspired by nature and use their art to protect what they love. More artists coming soon…
I’ve shared how I make my own kiln stilts before but I decided to put together a little step-by-step video for the Ceramic Arts Networks Clayflicks series and also share it with you here. If you make ceramic art and you glaze your pieces entirely, making your own stilts is an easy and cheap way to support them in the kiln. I purchase my stilt pins and all the nichrome wire I use from National Art Craft (direct links are below)
Remember! Be sure to test your clay first and don’t use any other type of wire to make these!
I was going through some older posts and came across this video made by Alan Jalkut of Jalkut Productions in my studio in October of 2017. He filmed this as I was getting ready for Open Studios, so the space is pretty darn clean and the work was really set up for visitors. It amazes me how much of the art work shown is gone to new happy homes, currently my walls are nearly bare! I get so used to how work in my studio ebbs and flows that it’s bizarre to look back at how different the studio looked less than two years ago. Hope you enjoy…
This video documents two ephemeral installations I created during my month long artist in residence at the Fish Factory Creative Centre in Stoovarfjordur Iceland. The first is from my Umbel Series and is based on Angelica flowers which grow native in the landscape of Iceland. The second is from my Bone Series and is based on radiolarian (single cell planktons) skeletal structures that live in all the oceans of the world.
The Fish Factory does interviews with each of their artists on their last week as a way to reflect on their time spent there and how it effected their work. As an artist, when you’re so focused on your work and in your headspace, it can be hard to explain (in a way that makes sense) to the viewer what you’re thinking about and why you’re making what your making. Being forced to verbalize it in a cohesive interview is a great way to gather your thoughts and wrap up this amazing opportunity. Enjoy my interview…
This is an experiment with a raw clay form returning to the earth. The piece settled on a bed of seaweed while the waves gently washed in and sped up the reclaiming process. I love the little bubbles and sound of the water permeating the clay. (sorry for the vertical format!)
A little glimpse into my translucent porcelain aspen leaves installed in a tree on the property of Buffalo Creek Art Center in the oldest aspen grove in Nevada. In a wind storm, a few of the trees fell into a natural creek and I loved the way the water beaded up and fluttered the fallen leaves, so I had the porcelain ones follow the same journey.