Welcome

Welcome to my Inner World. I am a French self-taught artist, and these past seventeen years I have made Norway my home. Moving to the Lofoten islands was the greatest present I ever made to myself and the Arctic landscapes are indeed a true treat for any artist’s eyes. I live with my British soulmate,… Continue Reading

My Digital Art

Paper Clay

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Like everyone, I think, I played with clay as a child. I remember it was the red type and it did have a smell. I might have made one ashtray or two with my clumsy hands. Nothing really special. Much later on, I worked with some polymer clay to sculpt faces to my figurines of elves and witches. I found it frustrating, so I never thought ceramics could become my thing.

Two years ago, I stopped smoking. It was seriously the biggest challenge of my life. It was tough to say the least. I needed something to keep my hands busy. I considered learning a musical instrument, woodcarving, felting. On a hunch I chose ceramics. Although on a conscious level I was not sure whether or not it was what I really needed, my Unconscious was set and I took the whole enterprise very seriously. There were no ceramics classes in my area so I had to buy my own kiln. A big investment for a fanciful idea. I’ve spent days… weeks! trying to collect as much information as possible on the web, it all seemed so complicated, I tripped on so many new terms and puzzling explanations, I’ve spent hours trying to figure out what to order – glazes, underglazes, overglazes, and how to fire all this without getting any “crawling” or “shivering” of any sort.

Since I’m the fantasist type, I went for paper clay, which is a mix of ordinary clay (mine was stoneware) and paper paste. What you can do with that is just amazing. Of course, the paper burns in the kiln and you’re left with just the clay. You can do absolutely crazy things with it, and it holds the shape. It’s the perfect medium for me because what I do tends to be very figurative, lantern boats, lace plates, fairy tale teapots and other strange objects. I did have quite a few disappointments to start with because I really had a hard time collecting information about how to use my materials (especially paints) and somewhere along the long and tortuous road, I messed up. But what I learnt in the process is priceless! Now I’m still experimenting and there’s still a lot to learn but since it’s just a hobby for me (which I feel rather passionate about), I can do it at my own pace. So much work goes into each piece that I can’t really sell anything, it’d be too expensive.

I’ve never tried a potter’s wheel and I don’t think it is my thing, although of course I would like to try it just out of curiosity. I love hand building, the ancestral gestures that go into the making of a dish for example. Also I find that levelling things out with my wooden tools (a spoon also works marvels I discovered recently) feels therapeutic. I delight in chiselling fanciful doodles, branches and leaves, spirals and stars.
My next batch is ready to be fired. I just have to apply the underglazes. But this time, the focus will be on the on-glaze colours or China paints to enhance the loveliness of it all ;-). I hope it will turn out allright.

cerabatch13.1

But first, I have to finish this big project, it’s a Soul Boat. It’s quite big. I’m finishing the base and tomorrow I will have to make what comes on top: the cabin. This will be really tricky, I’ll probably have to do it in several parts, walls first, and then when drier, the roof. I use dentist tools to carve out:

(Music by North Sea Radio Orchestra)

It will be fun to add lots of things progressively, some miniature books for the shelves, a miniature teapot tray, etc. Everything I’ll need for my long journey in the Otherworld!

So far, this is what I’ve done. I started with a bunch of things which I painted with the CoverCoat underglazes. The problem was that they fire at 1040 but since my paper clay matures at 1240, I was stuck at 1040. The end result is that the clear glaze crawled. I also made the mistake to dip my objects in it… shame. It was a real mess. Also I didn’t apply 3 layers of paint, perhaps 2 at the most, and it shows . There were some cracks here and there which I kept fixing with water, it just worsened. You should fill the crack with clay and level with a wooden tool:

ceramic27.2

My second attempt was better but the glaze again went all wrong because I sprayed it. Wrong again. This time I used the Amaco Velvet underglazes. I didn’t fire them as high as 1240, I got worried… I think I fired at 1100 but that was not enough of course, the transparent glaze crawled again.

ceramique23.5

Then I ordered some fancy glazes. Overall, I got disappointed by them. They’re too dark. With colored glazes, you get brighter colors with a raku kiln but mine is electric. This is also why I’m planning to work with china paints, to get the maximum control. I fired my clay at 1240 and then had some trouble applying the glazes because it didn’t stick anylonger (yeah well, it was vitrified!). But I heated up the objects in the oven before applying the glaze and it went all right. I fired at 1040 since they were low fire glazes.

lanternmosaic dishfrog ceram15.8

lanternboat

For the next batch, I went back to the Velvet underglazes and this time I fired them at 1240, so that the glaze over it wouldn’t crawl (it didn’t). I applied the glaze with a paintbrush which was more reasonable since there are so many little details. I also painted the first colored layer, fired at 1040, painted the two other layers and fired the objects at 1240. The colours darkened a bit too much for my taste. But it’s really hard to judge since you’re painting with different colored grays since the true colour is revealed only after having been fired. Also the higher the temperature, the darker the colour. China Paints fortunately don’t change. That’s colours you apply on the glaze (after it’s been fired). What you see is what you get. The first two photos are brooches and it was not a good idea, several broke while being worn, bumped into something.

brochesbarette

lanterndad lanternfarflanternson

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Did I dream that?

I dreamed that I was at a concert of Marilyn Manson… in the place where I work. The concert was great, he sung many new songs, fabulous songs (my unconscious is amazing when it comes to “making up” music, I heard before whole albums who were even better than the “real” stuff). The settings were of course a bit unsettling, and for having guided around the fireplace, I knew Manson experienced the situation as tricky but he remained very professional, a great artist, an amazing performer. He came back for an encore and covered “I wanna be your dog” by Iggy Pop. He let us sing the lyrics and was smiling. On my way back, I stopped at Hagskaret, a mountain pass. I looked over the mountain ridge, Justad tind, and thought “strange to think that Manson actually played here on Lofoten”. Back home, I went on Facebook to write about the exciting concert. I wrote “Back from an amazing concert of Marilyn Manson in the banquet hall! Unbelievable! Did I dream that???”. And then I woke up and had an “ah” moment, realising that I did actually dream that, ha!ha!ha!

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Herne The Hunter

I dreamed I was at my parents place with my companion and we were watching on a computer a very interesting documentary on haunted places in Brittany. There was one particular place which we found interesting, it was a sort of asymmetrical house from the 19th century with a high glass roof, it looked like an atelier.
We had rented a place in Brittany for 5 days and we were quite surprised and thrilled to see upon our arrival that the house was the one showed in the documentary. And yes, there had been a murder in the house but the house itself felt fine. We were inside and were watching again the documentary at the same time we watched our location. I was pointing at a tiny brilliant shape and from frame to frame it developed into a ghost. I was so excited. Usually, ghosts and flying objects in dreams spook me but not lately, I’ve come to accept this. The ghost was not only in the documentary now, it was also for real. An old friend came to stay with us, she arrived with her dog and we were so happy to see each other again that we jumped in the grass (our dogs too). When we came in, I didn’t talk about the ghosts (didn’t want to spook her), but pointed at the strange architecture. One end of the house was curved, and there were two doors leading to the garden. I thought how strange two doors leading to the same place. Suddenly the door on the left opened and I jumped back. There, in the door frame stood a giant of a man. He was the landlord. And I had to laugh because he really looked like a local savage, and I told him so (I know… very rude of me). He didn’t reply. Then I saw he was a hunter, he had a rifle on his shoulder and he was carrying three or four rabbits. He dropped them at our feet and I leaned to touch one of them. I was delighted to see there were all alive and tame enough to be petted. Now that I’m awake, this “landlord” reminds me very much of Herne the Hunter, lord of animals.

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Sharks with a sense of humour

I dreamed I was standing alone on a vast tropical beach … with a surfing board. Although the sea was quiet and I had never tried surfing before, I went into the water with my board, swam on it a bit and then attempted to get into a kind of upright position. I crouched on it and started sailing. I don’t know whether the board moved according to my will or the sea’s will or even better our concerted wills but sail, I did. It was exhilarating. Back on the ground I ended up at my parents place. In front of the house, my things were drying. But there were also three sharks who were quite alive and kicking in spite of the lack of water. And they were coming at me. Horrified and not knowing how to defend myself, I gripped one of them and threw it against the others. The sharks were a bit taken aback and then started to chuckle. Sharks’ humour, you know… ;-).

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