Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Seeking salvation on the bluebird of happiness

This is my piece for the Poetry in Art 2018 exhibit at Riverside Artists Gallery based on the poem, "An Invitation to My Sister" by Athens, Ohio poet Jean Mikhail. 
Poets submitted poems for the event and artists created works inspired by the writing. 
Poetry in Art will continue through Sept. 29.  The gallery is open 10-5 Tues. through Sat.
To make this piece I formed the bird on the wheel, just like any pot, with the beak being the top of the form.  I left a little extra clay at the bottom so that I could pull (yes!) the tail- a lot like the traditional way of making handles for a mug. The figure was then hand-formed and attached, and a little carving done here an there to define some details.  I hoped to use colored slips for the entire piece but found I did not quite achieve the colors I wanted so parts are painted with acrylic paint- mostly the figure. It was finished with a protective  spray varnish after mounting on the wooden base. This piece sold at the August 25 opening. 

Below is an excerpt from Jean's poem.  The full poem is on display in the gallery. 

A big part of the show is seeing the artists' responses to the poems. This is very personal, of course, and may be tied in with their own experiences.  So it is all the more fascinating to hear what the poets have to say about their own poems.  They had the opportunity to do this during a reading of the poems on the opening evening (Aug. 25) of the exhibit.

Below is another version I made- because working with ceramics you never know what can happen.  Always good to have a back-up plan.  This one is going to the WOAP exhibits, curated by Kari Gunter-Seymour.

Also going to the WOAP exhibits is another piece that was inspired by a poem, this one by Lisa M. Pursely.  Her poem, "Where Catfish Bloom", was submitted to Poetry in Art in 2016.  It was not chosen by an artist for that exhibit, but is one of those poems that stayed with me.  I could name several more.
It does happen that some great poems are not chosen by artists to work with simply because the artist cannot envision what direction the poem will take him/her when it is first submitted. 


  1. These are so beautiful ❣️❣️❣️

  2. Really Lovely work! Really interesting to see where the poem took you. I'm most impressed with the way you made the bird on the wheel, complete with pulled tail like a mug!

  3. Thank you Peter. There was a lot of editing and re-editing going on in my mind before deciding on how to approach the poem. Part of the poem talks about how their mother stitched up dresses with bluebirds. The bluebird image stuck, obviously.


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