New Work: Cloud over Siloam

This is the first finished work in the new series of clouds. It’s a low-fire white clay with a clear matte glaze mounted on salvaged, laminated cedar. I’m moving, as necessary, to different clays with more grog. This piece made it through the bisque firing OK, but — strangely — cracked profusely during the glaze firing. It stayed together though and I thought it presentable.

The cedar is sanded mostly smooth on top and textured on the sides. Epoxy joins the two pieces. I like the broad grain in the wood, stained with a dark walnut color, and its contrast to the clay. I’m not too fond of the angle at which the clay rests on the base, although this isn’t something you can see in these photos.

It was intentional on my part to let the cloud hang over some of the edges of the terrain, so where the wood is affixed wasn’t sanded completely level. Either I wasn’t careful enough, or I just don’t like the idea.

Time will tell.


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

5 Responses to New Work: Cloud over Siloam

  1. Jim Janknegt says:

    I like the direction of your cloud pieces a lot. Very cool to see a cloud solidified. I would love to see that shape made 15 or twenty feet tall. Maybe you could enter some art in public places competition and get a grant. I could see a public plaza with 6 or 7 of these sculptures towering above the pedestrians as they strolled among them.

    Keep up the good work!


    and thanks again for the platter!!

  2. Julie says:

    This is nice – I’m glad you’re still working with the idea. Really nice.

  3. pNielsen says:


    I’ve always wanted to do installations. Clay isn’t the best for this but would be very fun to do. If Jan Kaneko can make a 13′ tall sculpture why can’t I, right.

    Oh yeah, I don’t have a kiln with that kind of girth. Maybe someday.

    Glad you guys like it. Good for me to hear at this point, essentially still very early for me getting back into a concerted artistic mindset.

  4. Tim J. says:

    I’m with Jim, I think these would be very interesting as very large pieces. I know that would change everything in terms of the materials, but…

    Neat concept, and I think the ceramic portion of this one brings to mind a towering storm cloud very well.

  5. balm says:

    you can build a temporary kiln to fire big things. let me know i can help you out. we’ll trade. you help me finish my foundry and i will help you build a massive kiln! 🙂

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