Time Telling

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Trifolia
stoneware, Anagama kiln, woodfiring, line, form, Japanese pottery, ceramics, tea ceremony, glazes, motif, goddess figure, round-the-clock firing, geology, forces of nature, botany, , symbolism, porcelain, figurative sculpture,Goddess figure, craftsperson,form and function, symmetrical balance, asymmetrical balance, birth, creation, tactile, hand-built, transformation, elegance
description

Trifolia is one small pot of many created for the wood  firingTo fire is a process of applying heat to make hard pottery in either an oven or an ovenlike enclosure called a kiln. Also the means of fixing colours to ceramic surfaces. (Artlex.com)  of the Anagama kiln. The  kilnA special oven or furnace that can reach very high temperatures and is used to bake, or fire clay. Kilns may be electric, gas, or wood-fired. (Artlex.com) To see some examples of wood-firing kilns, go to the Wood Firing Kiln Gallery at: http://www.woodfiring.com/KILNS.html. For information on salt-firing kilns, go to About Salt Firing at: http://www.glenfarmpottery.com/AboutSaltFiring.htm.   designA plan, or to plan. The organization or composition of a work; the skilled arrangement of its parts. An effective design is one in which the elements of art and principles of design have been combined to achieve an overall sense of unity. Also [applied design], the production of attractive and well crafted functional objects. Subcategories of the design arts include: architecture, bonsai, fashion design, furniture design, graphic design, ikebana, industrial design, interior design, landscape architecture, stagecraft, textile design, and Web page design. (Artlex.com)  originated in China and appeared in Japan many centuries ago. Fellow potter Charley Farrero observed this kiln in action during a visit to Japan and decided he wanted to build one in Saskatchewan. Artists value the wood-  firedTo fire is a process of applying heat to make hard pottery in either an oven or an ovenlike enclosure called a kiln. Also the means of fixing colours to ceramic surfaces. (Artlex.com)  kiln for the unpredictable  glazesA term used in ceramics to describe a thin coating of minerals which produces a glassy transparent or colored coating on bisque ware. Typically applied either by brushing, dipping, or spraying, it is fixed by firing the bisque ware in a kiln. This makes the surface smooth, shiny, and waterproof. Also, a glaze can be a thin, translucent or transparent coat over a painting, sometimes meant simply to protect the paint underneath, but more often to add a veil of colouration to an area of a picture. (artlex.com)  produced on the wares by the ash during  firingTo fire is a process of applying heat to make hard pottery in either an oven or an ovenlike enclosure called a kiln. Also the means of fixing colours to ceramic surfaces. (Artlex.com)  process. Farrero built the kiln large enough to include other artist’s  ceramicPottery or hollow clay sculpture fired at high temperatures in a kiln or oven to make them harder and stronger. Types include earthenware, porcelain, stoneware, and terra cotta. (Artlex.com)  works in exchange for their help during the five-day, round-the-clock firing period. Rocamora was one of the lucky participants.  (NOTE:  You can find out more about this Anagama kiln by viewing the Charley Farrero video Being part of the transformation.)

Rocamora uses the leaf  motifRepeated unit to create visual rhythm.  as part of her  designA plan, or to plan. The organization or composition of a work; the skilled arrangement of its parts. An effective design is one in which the elements of art and principles of design have been combined to achieve an overall sense of unity. Also [applied design], the production of attractive and well crafted functional objects. Subcategories of the design arts include: architecture, bonsai, fashion design, furniture design, graphic design, ikebana, industrial design, interior design, landscape architecture, stagecraft, textile design, and Web page design. (Artlex.com)  for Trifolia in keeping with her interest in botany and nature. Three leaf-like shapes are fused together and rise from a base to form and decorate this vessel. The resulting pear-shaped or bulb-like  formIn its widest sense, total structure; a synthesis of all the visible aspects of that structure and of the manner in which they are united to create its distinctive character. The form of a work is what enables us to perceive it. Form also refers to an element of art that is three-dimensional (height, width, and depth) and encloses volume. For example, a triangle, which is two-dimensional, is a shape, but a pyramid, which is three-dimensional, is a form. Cubes, spheres, ovoids, pyramids, cone, and cylinders are examples of various forms. Also, all of the elements of a work of art independent of their meaning. Formal elements are primary features which are not a matter of semantic significance — including colour, dimensions, line, mass, medium, scale, shape, space, texture, value; and the principles of design under which they are placed — including balance, contrast, dominance, harmony, movement, proportion, proximity, rhythm, similarity, unity, and variety. (Artlex.com)  also resembles a human torso or a prehistoric Goddess figure.

In Trifolia, Rocamora built the possibly Goddess-like form referencing natural elements and while it is small in size it can be seen to encompass all forces of nature, possibly even the power of ‘Mother Nature’. The pot is made from the earth, decorated by unknown forces and chemically changed through the tremendous heat of the kiln’s fire. The three components of this process, the geological reference to three layers suggested in the title (tri, meaning three), and the three connected leaf forms of the vase are most likely an intentional connection to spirituality, whether it be traditional religious tenets or a deep connection with the earth and all it’s forces.

The way the ash from the fire landed on Rocamora’s Trifloia offers subtle variations of earth tones in random designs, which provide interest while emphasizing the form. Tim Long cites Henry Trubner in his essay on L‘Agamine: Portrait of an Anagama Kiln in Saskatchewan, to describe what happens inside the Anagama kiln: “The chance effects of the  glazeA term used in ceramics to describe a thin coating of minerals which produces a glassy transparent or colored coating on bisque ware. Typically applied either by brushing, dipping, or spraying, it is fixed by firing the bisque ware in a kiln. This makes the surface smooth, shiny, and waterproof. Also, a glaze can be a thin, translucent or transparent coat over a painting, sometimes meant simply to protect the paint underneath, but more often to add a veil of colouration to an area of a picture. (artlex.com)  give the pots an appearance of being produced by natural forces rather than an artisan’s hand, a quality which made them much sought after for the Japanese tea ceremony” (Long, 2005)

For Rocamora, her themes and material are interconnected. About her material she says,“Clay has traces of everything that has existed on this planet, from single-cell organisms to mountains, ground together by erosion and geological pressures”  (Rocamora, artist statement, Saskterra 2007)

As for her inspiration and ideas, writer August Rodin observes that, “She looks to nature for inspiration and to learn how to create objects that “make sense” visually and physically. Nothing is superfluous in nature; form,  functionRefers to the intended use or purpose of an object. The term is often applied to manufactured products, particularly crafts, and when discussing designs for architecture. Though sometimes said to be non-functional, art is expected to function in various ways, including: to beautify, to adorn, to express, to illustrate, to mediate, to persuade, to record, to redefine reality, to redefine art, to provide therapy, to give unselfconscious experience, to provide paradigms of order and/or chaos, and to train perception of reality. Anything that is not functional is called nonfunctional. Often the decorative qualities of a thing are considered nonfunctional. (Artlex.com)  and beauty flow from one another. The focus of her work is an exploration of this principle.” (Rodin, 2006)

additional resources Approaching Her Work
Duration: 2:20 min
Size: 10397kb
Career Advice
Duration: 1:40 min
Size: 6657kb
Childhood
Duration: 2:04 min
Size: 8885kb
Finding Her Style
Duration: 2:04 min
Size: 7885kb
Trifolia
Duration: 2:24 min
Size: 9316kb
Things to Think About
  • Can you think of other artists who use simple objects from their environment as inspiration for work?  Have a look through some of the other ARTSask themes on this website to find many who do!
  • White porcelain can be very difficult to use. Why is that so? Why would potters want to use it if this is the case?
  • Have you ever come upon something by accident and learned that you really enjoy doing that activity? Do you believe in fate?
Online Activity
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Select an object using the Shapes button and the Select  ShapeAn element of art, it is an enclosed space defined and determined by other art elements such as line, colour, value, and texture. In painting and drawing, shapes may take on the appearance of a solid three-dimensional object even though they are limited to two dimensions — length and width. This two-dimensional character of shape distinguishes it from form, which has depth as well as length and width. Examples of shapes include: circle, oval, and oblong; polygons such as triangle, square, rectangle, rhombus, trapezium, trapezoid, pentagon, hexagon, heptagon, octagon, nonagon, decagon, undecagon, dodecagon, etc.; and such other kinds of shapes as amorphous, biomorphous, and concretion. (Artlex.com)  button and move it or stretch it to create the  illusionA deceptive or misleading image or idea. (Artlex.com)  of motion.

In addition: play the Trifolia game/puzzle at: http://www.gamepuzzles.com/pparlor/tf.html by placing all the pieces within the three given formations.

Studio Activity

Rocamora states about putting her work into a gallery space: The pieces acquire a new dignity and presence when removed from the normal clutter of the working studio. (Robertson, 2002)

Sheila Robertson observes, “Rocamora‘s dynamic work often seems to capture a moment of becoming - burgeoning, sprouting, blossoming." Rocamora states about this idea, ”I want it to feel like it is green, and has a life inside.” (Robertson, 2002)

While Rocamora’s work can be about birth and creation it can also deal with darker aspects of nature such as death and deterioration. Jack Anderson writes about Rocamora’s work: “Confounding our initial sense of wonder and awe, they subtly suggest the swollen decay and threat inherent in nature.” (Anderson,1999)

Pit firing

Early  clayMud; moist, sticky dirt. In ceramics, clay is the basic material, usually referring to any of a certain variety of mixtures of such ingredients — fine-grained, firm earthy material that is plastic when wet, brittle when dry, and very hard when heated. There is a temperature with ceramic clays at which their particles fuse (vitrification), and this is most commonly controlled by heating (firing) them in a kiln. The most common types of ceramic clays are earthenware (terra cotta when fired, terra cruda when not), stonewares, and porcelain. (Artlex.com)  articles were accidentally placed in the  fireA process of applying heat to make hard pottery in either an oven or an ovenlike enclosure called a kiln. Also the means of fixing colours to ceramic surfaces. (Artlex.com)  used for cooking and heating. The  clayMud; moist, sticky dirt. In ceramics, clay is the basic material, usually referring to any of a certain variety of mixtures of such ingredients — fine-grained, firm earthy material that is plastic when wet, brittle when dry, and very hard when heated. There is a temperature with ceramic clays at which their particles fuse (vitrification), and this is most commonly controlled by heating (firing) them in a kiln. The most common types of ceramic clays are earthenware (terra cotta when fired, terra cruda when not), stonewares, and porcelain. (Artlex.com)  was removed after the  fireA process of applying heat to make hard pottery in either an oven or an ovenlike enclosure called a kiln. Also the means of fixing colours to ceramic surfaces. (Artlex.com)  and found to have chemically changed and to be exhibiting qualities of stone. Make your own outdoor  pit(verb) To mark with little holes.   firingTo fire is a process of applying heat to make hard pottery in either an oven or an ovenlike enclosure called a kiln. Also the means of fixing colours to ceramic surfaces. (Artlex.com)  and experiment with this technique. Be sure to refer to and follow safety standards and requirements for outdoor  pit(verb) To mark with little holes.  fires in your community, A few guidelines are  foundAn image, material, or object, not originally intended as a work of art, that is obtained, selected, and exhibited by an artist, often without being altered in any way. The cubists, dadaists, and surrealists originated the use of found images / materials / objects. Although it can be either a natural or manufactured image / material / object, the term readymade refers only to those which were manufactured. Also known in the French, objet trouvé. (Artlex.com)  at How to Build a  FireA process of applying heat to make hard pottery in either an oven or an ovenlike enclosure called a kiln. Also the means of fixing colours to ceramic surfaces. (Artlex.com)  Pit: http://www.howtobuildafirepit.net/1/post/2007/08/how-to-build-a-fire-pit-safety-tipswarnings.html

Little bowl show

Rocamora once took part in an exhibition where one person made a pot and another finished it, by adding decorative detail. This exhibition was called The Little Bowl Show. Work collaboratively with other artists and make your own Little Bowl Show.

References

Anderson, Jack.  ‘An Interesting mix of Approaches to Clay.’  Regina Leader Post, March 25, 1999.

Anderson, Jack.  ‘Exhibition Displays Uniqueness of Artists.’  Regina Leader Post, November 2, 2005.

Flood, Sandra. ‘Introducing the Award Winning Craftspeople.’  The Craft Factor, Summer 1989.

Long, Tim.  L‘Agamine: Portrait of an Anagama Kiln in Saskatchewan.  Exhibition catalogue, MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina, Saskatchewan, Fall 2005.

Morgan, Wayne. The Spafford Collection of Ceramics.  Exhibition catalogue.  Moose Jaw Museum and Art Gallery, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, 2007.

Robinson, Sheila.  ‘Meacham Clay Artists Borrows From Nature.’  The Saskatoon Star Phoenix, June 15, 2002.

Rodin, August.  Vessel-Essential: Anita Rocamora.  Exhibition catalogue.  Dr. Douglas Wright Gallery, 2006.

Sask Terra.  Anita Rocamora Profile.  Retrieved from the Internet on April 4, 2008 from:  http://www.saskterra.sk.ca/profile.htm

Trubner, Henry.  Ceramic Art of Japan: one Hundred Masterpieces from Japanese Collections.  Exhibition catalogue.  Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington, 1972.

Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning