"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.