New Work

"Kuba" Acrylic and polymer clay on bamboo. 18" diameter, $250

I've had the bamboo plate which forms the base of this piece for over a year. Ideas for design had been percolating in my head off and on, with no definitive direction presenting itself.

Than, as is often the case, I decided it was time to do something, and just plunged right in. The color palette is one of my favorites; the deep blues and earth toned coppers and browns truly resonate with me (so much so that the entire first floor of my home is done in these tones). Once I'd decided upon the unequal division of the panels, and the colors for them, I was off and running. The textured swirls came first. The shapes for the largest panel were next, and were inspired by the patterns seen in the raffia fabrics of the Kuba people of Zaire. I've found Duncan Clarke's The Art of African Textiles to be a wealth of background information and imagery. In it, I learned that the Kuba patterned fabric inspired the work of Matisse and Picasso (nice company, eh?), and is improvisational in design, as you can see below.

As always, I used the patterns as inspiration, and interpreted them in my own way, in textured polymer clay. The final panel with the 5 squares was a struggle, though I'm happy with how the texture on the squares pulls the designs together. Originally, I had a polymer clay textured snake in that space, but ultimately decided it didn't work exactly as I wanted it to....he/she may show up on a later wall piece...stay tuned!

I'm pleased with the result, and I've already received very positive feedback on 'Kuba' from my fellow members of the Carolina Mixed Media Artists Guild. I'm planning to do more, which will necessitate a trip this weekend to IKEA for more bamboo bowls. We can't wait for the store to be built in Charlotte (planned opening is sometime next year). It will be one hour closer, which will be great. Right now, Potomac Mills in Virginia (4 hours away) is our closest venue in which to revel in the wonderfulness which is IKEA.

Have a wonderfully creative weekend.


Lucy said…
Having seen your work in person, Michelle,I find it hard to believe you would not be accepted to any art/craft show!! I agree with you, some sort of feedback would be beneficial to the artist. If they are filled up in a category or price point, that surely couldn't be to hard to add on the comment section of the rejection notice. Other feedback on quality or composition would be equally helpful and only take a few more seconds to comment.

Love your bamboo bowl--it's fabulous!
Michelle said…
Thanks, Jodi! From your lips to the jury's ears...I do think comments would be a help, but then again, you never know. Unhelpful or non-constructive ones would be even worse than none at all!
I enjoyed seeing what you made from the items you got at the January meeting--'can't wait to see what you'll do with what you got at the swap!
Thanks for stopping by.
Clevelandgirlie said…
Hi Michelle. Came across your blog via your post on CMMA. Your plates are really cool. I love the texture and vivid, bright colors you are using. How exciting to have your work accepted into a show. Good luck with that. I too live in Raleigh - North Raleigh. Lots of artists up here!!!