Domenico Baccarini

The Artwork of Domenico Baccarini

Born in December of 1882 at Faenza, Italy, Domenico Baccarini studied sculpture at Faenza’s School of Arts and Crafts under Massimo Campello and drawing under the sculptor and medalist Antonio Berti, who introduced him to the renowned ceramic crafts of the city. Since the Middle Ages, Faenza was considered an excellent ceramic center which was known for its high-quality majolica pottery. After graduating and obtaining a study grant from the city of Faenza, Baccarini attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence between 1900 and 1903. 

During this period in Florence, Baccarini associated with many artists including symbolist illustrator and print maker Adolfo De Carolis, painter and engraver Giovanni Costetti, and painter and poet Lorenzo Viani. He produced several sculptures in the years 1901 and 1902, which are now housed in the collection of the municipality of Forli’s Aurelio Saffi Library. These include his sculptural works “Bust of a Young Woman”, “Spring”, “Nymphs”, and “Sensations of the Soul”. 

Baccarini visited the International Exhibition of Decorative Arts, held in Turin in 1902, and, in the following year, attended the Fifth International Biennial of Art in Venice. Settling in Rome in the autumn of 1903, Baccarini worked as an illustrator for the La Patria newspaper, which later organized an exhibition of his work at its headquarters in summer of 1904. During this time in Rome, Baccarini  was in a relationship with the future model for many of his works, Elizabetta Santolini known as Bitta,, who would in 1905 give birth to their daughter Maria Teresa. 

In the beginning of 1904, Baccarini achieved admission to the Nude School of the French Academy located in central Rome’s Villa Medici. He often frequented the home of monumental and frieze sculptor Giovanni Prini and met with other artists, such as painters and sculptors Umberto Boccioni and Giacomo Balla, both leading members of Futurist movement,  and musician and composer Alberto Gasco, a proponent of musical Modernism. Baccarini exhibited his work in 1904 with success at the Romagna Regional Exhibition of Ravenna.

Returning to Faenza in 1905, Domenico Baccarini began to work in the medium of ceramics. As part of the Art Nouveau and the late symbolism period of Faenza ceramics, he was responsible for some of the most interesting artistic, ceramic and decorative concepts at the turn of the twentieth century.  Baccarini played a key role in the renewal of Faenza’s ceramic production, especially that of the Fabbriche Riunite Ceramiche workshop of Achille Calzi and the Manifatture Fratelli Minardi owned by the Minardi brothers, Virginio and Venturino.

While working in ceramic design, Baccarini continued his own drawing and sculptural works, of which three were presented at the Sixth Venice Biennale. He was very engaged in his artwork throughout 1905: exhibiting in Milan’s Fine Art Exhibition for the opening of the Sempione and at the first Exhibition of the Società del Risveglio Cittadino in Faenza. Baccarini  also produced illustrations for Rome’s L’Avanti della Domenica magazine and started collaborating with writer and journalist Antonio Beltramelli on illustrations fo the author’s short stories.

After being abandoned by Bitta and suffering economically, Domenico Baccarini returned to Rome where he received a commission from the  charity institution, Casa del Pane, for a series of drawings to illustrate their workers in the field. During this second stay in Rome, his already poor physical condition worsened rapidly, which forced his return to his hometown of Faenza. It was there that Domenico Baccarini died on January 31 of 1907, at the age of twenty-four.

For the celebration of the centennial anniversary of the passing of Domenico Baccarini, the Municipal Art Gallery of Faenza held two exhibitions of his paintings and drawings in their collection. On the same occasion, the Museum of Art of Ravenna held an exhibition entitled “Domenico Baccarini: A Meteor of the Early Twentieth Century”, which retraced his life through his work.

Kintsugi (金継ぎ): The Golden Joinery

Kintsugi (金継ぎ): The Golden Joinery

Translated poetically as ‘golden repair’ Kintsukurai, or ‘golden journey’ Kintsugi, is the Japanese art of fixing broken pottery, which became the common practice of restoration by the 17th century.

The kintsugi technique may have been invented around the fifteenth century, under the rule of Ashikaga Yoshimasa, the eighth shogun of the Ashikaga shogunate. This seems plausible because the invention of kintsugi is set in a very fruitful era for art in Japan. Under Yoshimasa’s rule, the city saw the development of the Higashiyama Bunka cultural movement that was heavily influenced by Zen Buddhism; the start of the tea ceremony Sado or the Way of Tea; the tradition of Ikebana called Kado or Way of Flowere; the Noh theater; and the Chinese style of ink painting.

The repair of the broken pottery is achieved by mending the areas of breakage with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum, a method similar to the maki-e (蒔絵) technique, which was used for decoration purposes on pottery. The glue traditionally used to bring the pieces together is the urushi lacquer, which is being sourced for thousands of years from the Rhus verniciflua plant.

Once the repairs are completed, beautiful seams of gold  and silver glint in the conspicuous cracks of the ceramic wares. Every repaired piece is unique, because of the randomness with which ceramics shatters and the irregular patterns formed that are enhanced with the use of metals.

Kintsugi does not disguise the breakage but, philosophically, treats the breakage and the repair as part of the history of the object. The art of Kintsugi has similarities to the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi, a world view centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. Marks of wear by the use of an object are valued by Japanese aesthetics. The repair marks are highlighted, proof of an event in the object’s lifetime, and the object is allowed to continue its existence.

Kintsugi is comprised of three predominant styles: the crack; the piece-method; and the joint-call. In each case the pottery is repaired by a gold, silver, or platinum-dusted epoxy; however the finished results and the techniques used vary.

The most common method of repair is the crack approach where objects are mended with a minimal of lacquer. This method culminates in shining veins of precious metal, which defines the art form. Works restored with the piece-method feature replacement fragments made entirely of gilded epoxy. Pottery repaired using the joint-call technique employ similarly-shaped pieces from other broken wares, combining the two aesthetically different works into one unique unified piece. 

Images are reblogged from kintsugi artisan Joseph Weaver’s site: https://josephweaver.com

Alisa Holen

Alisa Holen, Untitled, (Rice Bowls)

Alisa Holen is a ceramic artist and educator in Evansville, Indiana. She is Assistant Chair of the Department of Art and an assistant Professor of Ceramics at the University of Southern Indiana.

Holen holds a Bachelor of Art degree from Ausberg College, a Master’s degree in ceramics and a Master of Fine Arts degree in sculpture with a ceramic emphasis from the University of Iowa. She is active as a presenter in the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) Conference and is involved in many local arts activities including founding Empty Bowls Evansville.

Ron English

Ron English, “Temper Tot”, 2017, White Limoges Porcelain

Revisiting his “Temper Tot” figure again in May of 2017, Ron English has partnered with K.Olin Tribu once more to issue an edition of the “Temper Tot” form in porcelain, this new version featuring black decoration on the character’s torn pants. Standing roughly 7-inches tall, 4-inches wide, and 2½-inches deep, this new version of English’s terrifically strong and terrifyingly immature “Temper Tot” was limited to an edition of 50 pieces, each completely finished and reworked by hand to ensure the finest quality, The porcelain was kept free of enamel to ensure that all the details of its musculature are defined and prominent.

As for the intent behind the “Temper Tot” character, it embodies the “combustible amalgamation of unbridled id and unbounded brawn”, as the solicitation text for the original vinyl sculpture stated, and “all misdirected anger and prideful immaturity” as well as being “more self-possessed than self-aware, both jealous of and threatened by the image of himself he presents to the world”.

Debra Steidel

Ceramics by Debra Steidel

Born in 1956 in Alexandria, Virginia, Debra Steidel was introduced to porcelain clay at a very young age, growing accustomed to the feel of wet clay on her fingertips. The freedom that clay possesses in its infinite potential is an idea that would resonate within Debra her whole life. Moreover, daughter to a rugged huntsman of the Northeast United States, Debra often found bliss in the natural environment around the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.

In 1974, at the age of 18, Steidel purchased her first potter’s wheel that she still uses to this day to create her vessels. During the early stages of her artistic career, Debra focused solely on the form of the vessel. In the early 1990’s, Steidel shifted her focus to ceramic sculpture. Sculpting presented Debra with such a different view of ceramics, replacing the meticulously concentrated process of the wheel with a free flowing, creative approach that channeled her unconscious.

Debra Steidel is closely associated with the mesmerizing crystalline glaze. In 2003, Debra moved to the lush Texas Hill country, just Southwest of the Texas capital of Austin. It was in her new surroundings that her pursuit to create the most remarkable glazes turned into an obsession. For Debra, the vividness of the glaze was equally important to the organic formation of each unique crystal as to maintain a harmonious composition of the overall piece. Thus, the recipes of her glazes have taken years, in some cases decades, to perfect.

Ardmore Ceramics

Ardmore Ceramics, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Ardmore Ceramics in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa has grown into a vibrant art pottery making unique pieces of ceramic art. Since 1985, artist Fee Halsted has created modelers and painters from the local community and they have become renowned for their exuberant use of color and their distinctive modeling of African flora and fauna. Each of the unique ceramics are made by several of the artisans working together; one modeling the basic form, one creating the minute details, one painting. On the bottom of each piece are the signatures of all who participated in its creation.

The sale of these wonderful pieces of ceramic art uplifts and supports the Ardmore community and their families. New pieces are selected for exhibition at the Pescoe Gallery in northern Miami, Florida. Special commissions are also undertaken for collectors.

The Duck Vase

Vase in the Shape of a Duck, 300-200 BC, Faience with Polychrome Glaze,    8.5 x 18 x 7.9 Centimeters, Walters Art Museum, Baltimore

Egyptian faience is a composite material composed of ground quartz and natron (sodium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate). Most faience is glazed in a vivid blue or green color; the polychrome faience seen here is much more complicated to produce.

The duck was mold-made together with the remains of its ring handle on the bird’s left side. The surface of the body displays a raised dot pattern, while the end of the wings have a feather pattern. The form may have been inspired by the red-figure duck vases of Etruria and south Italy. The duck is depicted with such detailed naturalism that the underside even has delicately modeled webbed feet.

Seated Male Figure

Seated Male Figure, Date Unknown, Mexico, Walters Art Museum

This exceptional exploration of the human form has a number of characteristics that underscore the fact that ancient artistic styles throughout West Mexico do not conform to modern political boundaries despite our use of Mexican states to name the region’s ancient cultures. The facial features and figural abstraction attest to connections between the San Sebastiian Red style of Jalisco and the Lagunillas pottery sculptures of adjacent Nayarit.

The male figure’s serene countenance and seated position on a bench-throne suggest a person of high status, his composed visage intimating that he is above the triviality of daily routine. On the other hand, his formal demeanor -arms held away from the body and hands resting securely on the knees- evokes a ritual pose like those of shamanic practices. The lack of any articulation of dress-other than the earrings, composed of a cluster of rounded forms-and the figure’s self-possessed expression point to the interpretation of the work as an idealized portrayal of a shaman in trance.

Dog Effigy

Dog Effigy Ceramic Pot, Date Unknown, Mexico, Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland

Among the Aztecs of highland Mexico, dogs were associated with the deity Xolotl, the god of death. This deity and a dog were believed to lead the soul on its journey to the underworld. The Mexica also associated Xolotl with the planet Venus as the evening star and the twin brother of the deity QuetzalcГіatl, who personified Venus as the morning star. The dog’s special relationship with humans is highlighted by a number of Colima dog effigies wearing humanoid masks.

This curious effigy type has been interpreted as a shamanic transformation image or as a reference to the modern Huichol myth of the origin of the first wife, who was transformed from a dog into a human. However, recent scholarship suggests a new explanation of these sculptures as the depiction of the animal’s tonalli, its inner essence, which is made manifest by being given human form via the mask. The use of the human face to make reference to an object’s or animal’s inner spirit is found in the artworks of many ancient cultures of the Americas, from the Inuit of Alaska and northern Canada to peoples in Argentina and Chile.

Woodrow Nash

Ceramic Sculptures by Woodrow Nash

Woodrow Nash’s recent sculptural works present the lure and mystery of our past and present reflections. The cut out eyes of his majestic clay figures gaze deep within the historical context of art history as well as carving out new path ways with Nash’s sculptural techniques. The range of colors and textures bring Nash’s life-like beings down to earth to be observed and reflected upon.

His stylized African portraits evoke the 15th century Benin concepts of graceful slender proportions and undulating lines of 18th century Art Nouveau. In his works Nash achieves his goal of intergrating expression, complex symbolism and sophisticated aesthetics to yeild striking embodiments of the human soul and sensuality.

Incorporating various styles and techniques Nash utilizes stoneware, porcelain, earthenware, and terracotta. The sculptures are then fired electronically using a pit firing technique giving the sculptures a “raku” effect; creating an “African Nuveau” trademark that is solely his own. Each sculptural figure is unique and strikes an individual pose of poetic grace and refined detail — each telling their own story.

Laura C Hewitt

Ceramics buy Laura C Hewitt

From her small studio in rural Alaska, artist Laura C Hewitt fuses the technological with the handmade, producing cyberpunk dishware and cyborg decor from wheel-thrown ceramics. A recurring theme in her work are plates, cups, and bowls speckled with 0’s and 1’s formed by vintage alphanumeric and punctuation keys from old typewriters or machinist punches. She often fires the pieces multiple times to enhance the worn appearance of each object, pieces that might look perfect on the desk of H. R. Giger.

Phallic Figure

Phallic Figure, Burnished Ceramic with Slip and Incised Decoration, 200 BC-500 AD, Colima, Mexico

The state of Colima was home to a number of pre-Hispanic cultures as part of Western Mexico. Archeological evidence dates human occupation of the area as far back as 1500 BCE, with sites here contemporary with San Lorenzo on the Gulf Coast and Tlatilco in the Valley of Mexico. One period of the area’s development is called the Los Ortices era, which began around 500 BCE. During this time the elements that characterize the pre-Hispanic peoples of Colima appear, including shaft tombs and a distinctive ceramic style called rojo bruñido, or burnished red.

The next phase, called Comala and centered on a site of the same name, was from around 100 to 600 CE. Comala people perfected burnished red pottery and created representations of people and animals with skill and fluid lines. The best known of these figures are known as the fattened dogs. The Comala site shows influence from Teotihuacan. Around 500 CE, another site in Armería developed along the river of the same name.

Diego Romero

Prints and Ceramics by Diego Romero

After graduating from high school, Romero attended the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe, New Mexico. IAIA is the only four-year degree fine arts institution in the nation devoted to contemporary Native American and Alaska Native arts. He later attained degrees from Otis College of Art and Design (BFA) and University of California, Los Angeles (MFA).  He now lives and works in Cochiti, New Mexico.

Since his graduation from UCLA in 1993, Romero has developed an extensive exhibition record with artworks that often humorously contrast historical Pueblo traditions with contemporary notions about super heroes and comics. His work is found in significant public collections such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Cartier Foundation, the Peabody Essex Museum, the Denver Art Museum, the Heard Museum, the British Museum, and the Scottish National Museum.

Amanda Shelsher

Ceramic Sculpture by Amanda Shelsher

Amanda Shelsher (born 1971,Western Australia) works as a full time sculptural ceramic artist from her home in, in Perth Western Australia. She grew up surrounded by bush in the small suburb of Gooseberry Hill and was introduced to clay at the age of 10 when her mother began her own career as a professional potter. Surrounded by both an artistic mother and father, Amanda was drawn into the world of ceramics and was firing and glazing works from this early age.

Amanda began exhibiting at age 18 and went on to complete a Bachelor of Arts in Visual Arts – Ceramics at Western Australia’s Curtin University of Technology. She then completed her Graduate Diploma of Education (Art – Secondary) the following year in 1992.

Deer Head Mask

The Deer Head Mask Of Mexico

Fanciful headdresses were an essential component of performance costumes because they were crucial to the dancers’ perceived transformation into the personage or spirit being in whose guise they performed. In Veracruz, figurines depicting warriors and a wide variety of performers often wear full-head masks, which can be removed to reveal the person inside, such as the amazingly detailed head-mask of a deer.

Post-fire paint adorns the animal, with black-line curvilinear motifs on his long ear and bright blue-green pigment embellishing his upper lip. Large protuberances on his snout and the single horn atop his head suggest a composite zoomorph rather than a biologically accurate rendering.

The deer was an important Mesoamerican food source, and its hide was used for a variety of purposes including the wrapping of ritual bundles and as leaves (pages) for screen-fold manuscripts which contained all manner of knowledge-from history to religious mythology to astrology and astronomy. The deer also was the animal spirit form of the mother of the seminal Mexican deity Quetzalcoatl and of the wife of the maize god among the Classic Maya.