Sculpture for the Christmas tree

I’ve been getting quite a bit done lately in the artistic department (if you hadn’t noticed by my recent posts), including some work on ornaments.

The wife and I started out with the ornament idea with a specific goal — combining her fiber craft with my clay craft — but it’s ballooned beyond that. The most recent Christmas tree ornaments from my ceramic corner of the house are represented by the following three images.

As I find myself doing more and more often, these were inspired by a texture created with a found object. The object was found in my backyard while playing with the puppy, and couldn’t be more plain. It’s part of a stick, or twig, a very tiny part fallen off of a rotten hackberry branch. Not even as big around as my pinky.

I rolled a slab, used the weathered stick-part to pattern the slab and then cut around the pattern as I saw fit. The resulting texture reminded me of wings so I’ve tentatively titled these “Abstract Angels.”

The red is what I had left of a Duncan underglaze purchased roughly 10 years ago. This is the sad part of this post: I’m now out of this color and I’m not sure Duncan is making it anymore. What I like about this underglaze is that it fires over greenware like a glaze. It comes out glossy and mottled (with a few bubbles from time to time). If Duncan’s quit making the color or changed the recipe, I’m going to have to see if I can formulate it myself. All I know is that it contains cadmium.

I’m very smitten with these 14 abstract angels. I don’t know how many I’ll be able to part with, but a few of them will be for sale in downtown Grand Island at The Milestone Gallery.


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

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