New Work: Storms over a wooden prairie

I’m quite pleased with these two pieces, particularly the green one on the walnut “prairie.” They are a mid-fire buff clay that was given to me by a friend, and the terra sig and smoke took to it beautifully. The idea to put a cloud form made of clay over a laminated piece of wood as the horizon is something I first worked on back in 2001. I still have some of the abstract forms, but only one ever made it onto a prairie, and none of them were as refined as these.

The texture on the sides of the wood was an exploration of ways to approach the material other than the traditional sanding to a smooth surface. This was inspired in part, to be honest, by my occasional impatience and by observing the handmade details on our 100 year old upright piano. I made the texture using a brace (hand drill), hammer and nutpick or nail set, chisels and a strange shoemaker’s tool I salvaged from the Creekview Flats. The texturing turned out better over the walnut. The soft maple feathered more than I wanted, and the color just doesn’t show the marks off as well as the darker wood (though you can’t tell this from the photographs). The prairies are finished with beeswax.

Both of the clay forms reference pileus clouds. I like these works, along with another very similar form not pictured here, well enough to hold them back from the Etsy store at this point in hopes of getting them into a gallery show in the near future.

Now I just need to find said gallery show to submit them too!

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About pcNielsen
Paul Nielsen founded The Aesthetic Elevator late in 2005. He owns a piece of paper, located somewhere in his house (not on the wall), stating that he earned a B.F.A. from the University of Nebraska around about 2001. While there, he studied studied architecture, graphic design and ceramics, graduating with a degree in studio art. Paul presently serves as communications manager for a small non-profit doing their print design and marketing. He spends as much time sculpting in his studio as possible — which is not nearly enough. Visit his website at pcNielsen.com.

2 Responses to New Work: Storms over a wooden prairie

  1. Tim J. says:

    I keep wanting to walk around behind the photos!

    It’s difficult to get a real grasp of sculpture in 2-D. I like the contrasts between the unglazed and glazed areas, as well as the wood, and I love the smoke. Have you ever worked with some of these concepts/textures/methods on more traditional vessels?

    I took a year of pottery as part of my BFA, but never did get any good at hand throwing. I could do it, but the results lacked grace. A couple of others in my class took right to it and were throwing like pros by the end of the year. Guess it’s just not my medium, which is why I really admire a well-thrown pot.

  2. Paul says:

    I have plans to do functional ceramic work, but don’t have a wheel at present. I hope to build one (new ones are way out of my budget, and finding used ones hasn’t happened. Throwing isn’t something I’m overly proficient at, but I’ve never given it proper attention either. When I do get to cups and platters in earnest I’ll likely start with these same finishes though.

    I’ve thought about making videos of my three dimensional work, but don’t have a camera to do that at this point.

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