In Which You see Some Results of My Molds, and Learn of New Beginnings…
Moldmaking at OCAC
September 16 - 24, 2018
A lot has happened since my last post!
Last week, I posted about learning to make a one-part mold. Since then, our class visited Eutectic Gallery, a critical art/contemporary ceramics space in Portland and toured the mold-making business of the same owners, Mudshark. I was so inspired that I started making my pre-planned molds of the streets of Portland the same day. I also started to frost (or, ”glaze,” to the initiated) my first casts of the Monkey Skull and got some interesting findings…both of these events have resulted in pretty fantastic directions, into which I will go in this post!
Eutectic Gallery & Making Molds of the Streets:
Thanks to our instructor’s connections with the business owners, we were able to meet the owner, Brett Binford and tour the production floor of Mudshark, also their sister company, Eutectic Gallery, which highlights contemporary ceramics artists. We viewed the current exhibition, About Water from clay artist Susan Thayer (not pictured). This was a most educational and awesome field trip.
From Eutectic’s website:
“Founded in 2012, Eutectic Gallery plays a vital role in the development of the contemporary ceramics market and takes a diverse approach to work that intersects the fields of design, craft, and art. Through 24 exhibitions per year, a standing retail space featuring the best in contemporary studio pottery, and a blossoming online presence, Eutectic promotes both established and emerging local, national, and international artists.”
Let me reiterate: this was an amazing field trip. Not only were we able to see a working craft business in action and the real-life application of the mold-making techniques we have learned in class, but Brett Binford was the epitome of generous and took time with our class to share Mudshark’s history and explain some of the ins-and-outs of building a small-batch craft business from the ground up. It was truly a great educational experience for Craft students who may some day aspire to such successes as what Eutectic + Mudshark have created!
I was so inspired by the small business vibes that I daydreamed up a pretty cool idea which I will touch on more, later. I wouldn’t have had the inspiration if I hadn’t toured this Portland-based company with my class. Then I pressed molds on the streets.
Part of my Independent Study has been development of the idea to use mold-making to enable me to capture part of the streets that have inspired my study of urban Portland areas.
Side-Note: I have a love of the manufacturing district around Water Ave. I have already made a study of this area using photo-documentation. I have plans to use these photos, and to interpret the area using ceramics and painting, too.
The inspiration is one part element of documentation of an area of the city which has history and is rapidly changing, one part interpretation of the feelings I have when walking through this area.
Well, one of the big ideas behind this Independent Study is to learn techniques in mold-making which will increase my abilities to capture this area, to imbue my artwork with the characteristics of the area of downtown Portland.
Building on the techniques of tile-making and one-part molds, inspired by the ethic and industry of Mudshark Studios, I have started to apply what I absorbed in mold-making class and had planned as my first iteration in work: making molds from the streets.
Yes, I looked like a crazy person,
laying on the ground and pressing clay into the sidewalks.
In fact, a crazy person even stopped and shouted, “THIS IS GENIUS,” enamored that I was surrounded with clay tiles and he could see me and what I was doing and thought it was wonderful. It made me want to not stop, having that effect on a stranger with my art-making.
This was an unexpected element of this project: that making art in public came with people who would engage me as I did it! They asked me about what I was doing and why, and I had to express my thoughts and tell them what I was doing and why—the singular most complicated part of writing a thesis about my work. I couldn’t have asked for a more compelling way to fully consider what I was doing and why than engaging with people who were really interested by what I was doing, and I am thankful for that.
There were many who stopped and watched, then moved along but three people in specific who changed my experience and made me feel like I was following the path down the rabbit hole to doing something right, and potentially amazing.
These strangers, although they were just curious, really helped me consider and articulate why I was doing what I was doing.
Some of them made observations that helped me answer questions about the nature of my work, like why I was interested to capture elements of the street and why I wanted to share parts of Portland through my work. Some just shared enthusiasm for what I was doing, what I told them I wanted to do with this work, and that it was important to them—to save and remember, too—to capture a part of time and place.
I wrote a poem about the experience I had that day. It accompanies these photos as part of the process of pressing clay into the sidewalks to capture impressions as pieces of what I thought could portray the character of an urban space and Portland streets. Some even bear the name of the street.
Practice—Jessica Rehfield, September 2018
Made a new friend called Mary.
Mary is in pain something fierce, she tells me about Armando then busts out singing a Billy Holiday cover song of her life, her style. I tell her is it something else, the way
Her words made sense and that
She sounds like she has a higher calling.
A bird with an angelic sound of pain
We Made a Wednesday plan to go to the Waterfront
We made a different plan upon calling that we both had shit to do but I’ll see you tomorrow, tomorrow
Tomorrow is calling.
Email Peter Siracusa - the Sicilian guy cycling past who stopped, raised his arms and exclaims, “ this is genius!” asked me if I have a blog. jessicarehfield.com/blog
Sam brought me water
I composed this list:
Things to take with me
Tiny water Spray bottle
Brushes- dry & wet
Tool belt must make my belt use the apron from the kitchen.
Tracing or waxed paper squares
Stool, a Sitting Seat
A seat to sit in
Slip contained in film canister to undo some things done.
A Wire cutting tool
Sponges, fine and soft
Water bottle-change my painting box into a toolbox Do It.
Water for my throat.
A Bigger dry box,
Bigger slabs. Better tools
A Better Practice.
Express to impress,
Part 2: Glazing Monkey Skulls fr. the One-Part Mold:
Will be…cont. :)