Stands are terrible things. Boorish blocks, most often with as sole purpose to lift the sculpture out of the ordinary. Away from the table or the floor. A lift without beauty. Many sculptors feel this reluctance and take other options. Brancusi made his stands as the corps de ballet that would lift his solo piece; The Sculpture, into space. Exciting and refreshing to behold. Inspiring. Lovely. As I am not Brancusi, I go for another option, I like to use small tables. Made my me preferably, so I can choose the seize, and because I’ll be at Art Eindhoven soon I wanted some new ones that are easy to transport. Foldable. I was having a stagaire over for the first time, so I thought we’ll try some designing. But, hey, it went marvellous and at the end of the day we had a prototype finished! He was happy, I was happy and almost ready for Eindhoven (have to make 8 extra ones still). Art Eindhoven, nr 29, 13 and 14th of April. If you like to come, please let me know I have some tickets to give away!
Sometimes I get an offer; a gallery really likes my work and I can take part in an exhibition in Hamburg. It will last for a month, the fee is € 659 (ex 19% VAT) and the commission will be 20% of the selling price. So to get an idea of my profit I calculate when I get even. A work or some works with the total value of € 1200 will have to get sold (I don't know what VAT to consider doing this). The costs for the fee, the 20%, bringing and getting the works (700 km two times) will be covered and I'll have earned € 34 for a sandwich and a coffee on the way to and from the gallery. None of my everyday costs will be covered. My studio rent, the clay, firing the kiln. Let alone living or feeding my kids. Some days it is hard not to be very cynical.
The portrait of Ronald Snijders was taking quite some effort. Luckily for me I needed Ronald twice to model for me. To have someone is modeling is always special. We talk about loads of things but it is never small talk. In the intimacy of a work that is born into the clay, we always talk about things that make your life (and mine) worthwhile. Or hard. Or great. Because I want to catch the essence of a person it can not be about superficial things. Ronald is an amazing guy, storyteller, intelligent, living a full life. Musician. He experienced a million things and is very aware of being part of a family, a link in a long history. And surely we talked about being colored or white in this society, man or woman, opposites. In the end I figured out what to do and finished the portrait. We are both very happy with the result and having Ronald over to see his portrait was once again a lovely experience!
Last week a colleague of mine wanted to know how to make a clay flute. She is about to teach in an art and music project on an elementary school so making an instrument seemed nice. We made a little lesson of it. After some technical things like making two pinch pots, a balloon with those, adding a nozzle the moment to get some sound when blown on was there. Physics for sure, and so much fun! When you have followed all the rules, done the do’s and left out the don’ts and you blow the nozzle and a sound arises, an earthy tone, sometimes with a lot of false air (sounds like the wind), that moment is magical. I love this about clay. We humans have been using it for thousands of years. To eat from, to store in, to make music with and sculptures. Ritual objects, sinks, toilets, eggshell porcelain teacups and toilet pots, we live in in and drive over it (brick), all with clay! An extra advantage is that it is earth and it will be earth. When it breaks you can fill the road with it or throw it in a ditch without trouble to human or animal. And yes, I like skull ocarina’s.
You see a panel of underlayment/ wood in layers with on it the portraits of the Kouachi brothers, the brothers that did the attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris. In the end , after their flight, they were shot dead. On the panel cels have been sketched and some of them have been carved out in a relief. The faces of the men have been carved and split in the surface.
In this work you see some similarities in image. The black lines of the cells repeat in the black lines in the faces of the men, thought they are round in the cells and straight in the faces. Underneath the porcelain layer of the faces is black-firing clay that shows itself in the carves. The cells have symbolic value. We talk of terrorist cells, IS cells. As a society we can look on all people of cells. These young man that turn into terrorists are, in a way, cells of our own tissue, something in our society that is working against us. And there is the difference between idea (sketch) and reality (form). What is the relation between reality and idea. How come some ideas become reality and some don't.
The title of the work refers to the painting of Mondriaan, Victory Boogie Woogie. Whose victory are we talking about, the one of the men that gave France and Europe a huge scare, or the victory of the state that killed these terrorists or the victory of the ideas of the terrorist movement that overthrows our legal system by showing no mercy or rights to these young men but kills them instantly just like IS does. Who are the heroes in this story, who claims the victory. The Boogie Woogie is quite cynical. In this dance of life, what is the best way to make it work together. What is paradise when we refuse to make refugees a home. What is paradise, this place ruled by rules claimed to be made by god or the place ruled by economy. When I was young I did consider quite seriously to become a nun, go into a sacred life. So I do understand the longing for a better world, a divine world.
Time and time again strange words come of the television. Too painful to remember literally their their scope is; art is for lunatics and at best a hobby. Of no importance. Something marginal. No need to take seriously. Then, when we have a commemoration of something important we gather around a monument… A work of art! To center very important moments we human beings apparently need, literally, a piece of art. When we marry we give our beloved a ring. Things of beauty for important moments, our life is stacked with it. A city is not a good place to be without beauty, without theatre, without a music stage. Life without art is possible but, ouch, without joy. Hurray for art! Hurray for living life fully!
Today I was taken by surprise by someone that bought a sculpture I made, 8 years ago...She is still enjoying it. Such a lovely message! Thank you for the compliment singer and musician Ineke van Doorn!
I am tidying up my studio. Going through bags of clay, half way dried out with half finished sculptures in between. Then I find a just started portrait of my daughter. It has been there for years, it is my toddler daughter. In the blink of an eye I remember how she felt, the softness of her skin, her remarks, how much I love her and even though the portrait isn’t finished, I fire it. I just found a treasure!
In the last moments of 2019 I was chosen to be teacher of the year from the 70 teachers of Cultuurhuis Wherelant. I was invited on the couch with José, our president. Wow!
She named all different classes I have been teaching through the years (very many) and the number of years I have been teaching (my son was no where near, and he is 16 now). My international adventures were also mentioned.
My secret in teaching is that you, the student, are always the boss of your work, I will search along with you for Your Best Sculpture.
I can tell you what works in a sculpture, about the skin, the composition, about what is boring and what invites the eye and you are free to listen. I am not interested in creating a lot of Saskia’s, I like to be Saskia myself as it is. And we are free. When you sculpt you can do anything. You’re free to draw on your work, or paint, to chop, saw, stick things on, whatever you like. This creates space, and quite funny, not only in the works you make, also in other parts of your life. Art is just great!
I finally wanted to make the Gate to Here and Now. All material for this sculpture was already in my studio, I'm quite a hoarder and have many ideas, so my studio is full of 'stuff'. 'A mess', people without many ideas might call it. The rod I had around I could bend and form into a gate and a space. When one passes the gate one enters the Here and Now. The line is quite thin and golden, the golden lining of your world. Your perception for sure. The way it has been constructed, quite sloppy, of material I had laying around, makes me happy. Everything to get into the Here and Now was already here. You can see it at Impulse and, magnificent detail, it is in chains there! Very important this Gate to Here and Now is not to be stolen. (It is very easy to take apart, it has to fit in my car, but this will forever remain our secret.) More of this? https://lnkd.in/dVK5hB3
On a certain day I was asked to restore a sculpture, a portrait of a little boy, Valentin, made by a French sculptor in 18hundred something. A lovely statue to behold. So I fixed it in a way that was strong and invisible and the little boy captured my heart, so I copied the sculpture. Copying is a way of learning, and I learned very much in the process. But I did want to make it my own sculpture as well, and contemporain. So I struggled. I used black firing clay, covered it in white, added underglaze, fired it, still was not happy. As I was in the process of painting it with acrylic paint Paris and the rest of Europe were shaken by the attack on Charlie Hebdo. This made me add an extra layer to the sculpture and gave it its name. You can come to see it in Impuls in Wageningen, and a lot of other works as well.
Last weekend I was in London to put together a place of memory. Someone I love had lost the love of his life and in the United Kingdom, if you have permission of the landowner, you may put a grave on the land. I was asked to make a small cellar and the urn to be placed into this. I made different designs and made the urn chosen. The small cellar is made of Belgian Bluestone, like a puzzle fitting together so once placed, with the earth pushing from the sides, steady and remaining the right form. Over it a slab of the stone that forms the terrace nearby is placed. It was an important moment, placing the urn and closing the cellar. I was so honored I could make this for them. It gave me the chance to put my love for the two of them in.
Last weekend I was in Florence with my work...On the Piazza della SS Annunziata, a place that breathes sculpture. Over my head were the ceramic infants by Della Robbia. I sold works to American collectors and Italian colleagues, ate with ceramists from all over Europe and and enjoyed just being there, what an inspiring adventure!
Last night composer Theo Loevendie turned 88. He is not impressed by this, last year he published his memoires and he still plays and writes new works. A few years ago he couldn't play his saxophone any longer due to eye problems, so he took up the piano... He is an inspiring guy! In 2014 I made his portrait, tiny but definitely him and in honor of his birthday the portrait is in a little book with all the portraits of Theo made through the years.
Last week the big sister of this little guy went to Izmir, Turkey, where she will be listening to what the child psychiatrist and his clients are telling each other...She is to be put up in his office. #psychiatrist #listening #art #sculpture #mask #raku #Izmir #Turkey #portrait #upcycled #frame #ceramic
Last week work has found homes in the United States, Portugal, Denmark and the portrait of Lebanese singer Rima Khcheich left for Beirut, Lebanon. I am really happy my work finds its way around the world.
My dear bear has found a home. Until now you had the chance to download his image and I do hope you took it (or take it asap at free)! You can still see it for a while in Herberg den Rooden Leeuw in Amerongen. Bye, bye, sweet guy.
April 14, 2018
Showing a work is always nice. My work is made to evoke new thoughts or memories or feelings. Like when you walk in a forest you gen get into depths of your cranium that are a little dusty and filled with cobwebs.. Beautiful long lost images might linger there, waiting to be ushered awake. New cross-links might be formed that might cast their light on old unsolved matters. This is what my sculptures do for me when they are formed in my hands and they might do just the same for people watching them. In Amerongen you can see some of my works in a restaurant, herberg Den Rooden Leeuw. The host makes you a lovely dinner, served in a beautiful room. To make your time even better they take care of good art hanging on the walls and in other spots. You'll find my work in places you might have art at home. On a shelf, in a cupboard, where you can also find some glasses. Next to the place the bread is cut. I like this a lot. Art is part of life, of a household, just like coats and shoes. Whenever you find a moment you can go on a journey with the work.
Recently I made four skull shaped ocarina's. An ocarina is a clay flute. Clay flutes have been made for millennia and originate (as far as I know) from South America. They were made in all different kinds of forms and shapes and they trigger my imagination immensely. One of these four (the third from the left side) is in use by my dear husband Joost Lijbaart in his music, two others are for sale on this site. I hope you can enjoy them as I do.