Timeout for Art: Clay



It’s Thursday!

Yesterday was after-school art.

We made paper!

For that lesson, I brought in a beautiful paper wasp nest (I should know the specifics on type of wasp and how the paper is made, and what precisely the ingredients used are…but I don’t know, and don’t have time to research it), samples of paper formed by seaweed washing up over the stones at Iron Ore Bay at the south end of Beaver Island, and many paper samples made from ingredients ranging from banana peels to tulip petals and leaves.


We talked about the need for paper and the many things that were used for writing on – from clay tablets to shields to walls and towers built just to record a good story on – before we had paper, and the history and development of paper-making. We made our papers from pulp  made from recycled junk mail, with additions of their choosing. I offered flowers – daylily, sedum and marigold – saved in my freezer for this purpose, pencil shavings, straw, yarn and grape skins. Each batch got a good shake of baby powder, just to make it smell good. It was a fun day.

While digging out my paper samples, I came across a stack of photos from my studio at Michigan State University.

My concentration was in ceramics; my focus was on large scale ceramic sculpture.

In whatever medium I am working in, I like to allow the materials to “have their way.” Pencil should look like pencil and paint like paint, in my mind. I appreciate those who can make a painting look just like a photograph, but that’s not for me.

In clay, I worked with wet clay, squeezed – not rolled – into coils, and let the shapes develop organically. I set it up for surprises to happen during the firing process. I planned for fissures and separations, and happily filled them with mortar and hand-made beads of silver solder.

I’m short on time this morning, so will just offer a few pictures.









About cindyricksgers

I am an artist. I live on an island in northern Lake Michigan, USA. I have two grown daughters, four strong, smart and handsome grandsons and one beautiful, intelligent and charming granddaughter. I live with two spoiled dogs. I love walking in the woods around my home, reading, writing and playing in my studio.

11 responses »

  1. What interesting sculptures! You are talented in so many mediums. I also like the concept of handmade paper. Some day I’ll try it for myself. Pretty flecks of…whatever…make it so lovely too. I hope the kids had fun!

    • I certainly don’t make high quality handmade paper, but I have fun with it. Several years ago, I made over three hundred pieces that my daughter then bedecked with ribbon and a printed invitation to her wedding. I’d be happy to lead you through the process whenever you want to try it. Thanks for your kind comments, Sara!

  2. I was deeply saddened when a huge coil urn I made was taken from the college firing room years ago. I spent most of a semester creating it. Now where are my ashes to go?

    • Oh, that’s awful! Tupperware just doesn’t compare, does it, as an ash holder?!? Honestly, how terrible to have your handiwork stolen. I know how much heart and soul goes in to a creation like that!

  3. those are SO original! i love them, and i love all of your posts! even when you’re feeling a bit out of sync, i’m glad that you share those times with us.

    time to crash for the night, but it’s been nice having some internet time!


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