Coming into 2020 I was excited to start a new series of pieces, with different design constraints. Many of the bongs from the Shatter series used slip (liquid clay with the consistency of “sour cream”) colored with mason stains, as a paint to decorate the surface. At that point, the colored clay stayed on the surface and the base was always the natural white of the porcelain. In the next series, I would use stains to color the main clay body so that I could create more color combinations and contrast in my compositions. Texture was also a large focus. Thinking about how the bongs would feel in the hand was the driving factor for this series.
Mixing mason stains into the clay body is a troublesome task when done by hand. Several hours of work for this series were spent kneading clay (and admittedly, several hours were also put into getting stain out of my clothes). That, and the onset of quarantine, kept the series unnamed and limited to five pieces. The first two, Thanks for the Boof, Abby and Thanks for the Boof, Jay, named for the friends that they were gifted too, were purely focused on creating a design through texture. Deeply carved sgraffito strips cut through the white or black surface, revealing the contrasting blue or yellow body beneath. This simple design was meant to be aesthetically pleasing but lacks any representative details.
The composition worked well, but I wanted to see if I could push it a little bit further by adding subtle representational features. Burning Banana was my first attempt at this. Using colors that I associate with sunsets in the tropics I carved out small monstera deliciosa leaves (often mistakenly called banana leaves). The background remained similar to the texture on the first two pieces. Because the leaves and texture are the same colors, the leaves remain a subtle feature of the overall texturing of the surface.
This is a series that I would like to revisit in the future. With new techniques for production that I am learning, the color combinations could vary even further with the simple addition of a third layer. But I would also like to flesh out the textural aspect more. The addition of representational tidbits was a good start, and I would like to try out other similar ideas.