Sunday, May 25, 2014

A Lesson in Art Deco

This month's PCAGOE Challenge is Art Deco / Art Nouveau. Having no artistic training I had a very vague idea of what that was. I imagined strong lines and flowy hair. I consulted my resident experts in the PCAGOE membership and started an inspiring journey into the past. From what I could gather, Art Deco was born out of the industrialization of manufacturing. The art inspired by this phenomenon resulted in what we now know as Art Deco. Being a sociology major, for me, industrialization brought about the social and political constructs of capitalism, which brought about socialism and communism. I never associated an art movement to a social construct like this and it was a fresh way of looking at it.
The only exposure I'd had to Art Nouveau was the wall paper my mother had used in our bathroom when I was a teenager. Needless to say, I am a babe in the woods when it comes to art history. This challenge was a perfect way for me to get a taste for it.
Honestly, my challenge was to stop researching and focus on making something. And that didn't quite work out because I made one thing, then another version of it, than made another and still last night I started to make another project in the same style knowing full well that I would not have the time to finish on time for the deadline.
The project that I am entering is the re-do of the first project. I always liked the metal bowls that were gradated in size. You sometimes saw them in wood that you could turn and they would close flat or open up. I chose a black and white scheme because I just love that combination and because it does reflect the streamlined style of the the Art Deco. Mine does not open and close. That would be another challenge altogether. I was also struck by the irony of making something by hand to celebrate an era that marveled at what could be achieved by machines.
I used pure black and white clay aiming for the colors not to intermingle. That was an ongoing struggle to the end. I used one set of square cutters and alternated the outside cut with the inside cut so the walls were thick enough to accommodate the weight of the other pieces on top and since they go from small to big, I was worried about the piece collapsing under its own weight. My first attempt was a perfect illustration of that principle hence the re-do. This time I cut and baked the pieces individually and after much sanding, way too much sanding, I glued them together careful to center them onto each other as I went. I really like the finished product. I have imaginings of making bigger ones with all kinds of colors.
The voting for this challenge is from June 1 to 7 and can be done at this address.


  1. I really loved reading about your approach to this challenge! Your perseverance with the project paid off! I think this may be my new favorite of your bowls, though that's hard to say for sure, as I love your face garden bowls so much! ;)

    1. Thank you Beth! And it's ok to have more than one favorite. I can't choose just one either. lol