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

Morozko Gifts

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I need a pair of skates… not that I would go as far as on the lakes in my neighborhood, it would freak me out, but I fancy a few steps on the lovely frozen tarns. Also it reminds me of a dream I had a long time ago, and that was a long time before I moved to Lofoten. I dreamed I was on my beloved islands and I was walking in the grass. There was still snow here and there and flowers bloomed as I walked by. It was truly magical. The sun was shining and I knew it was midnight and I thought “how weird” because I actually didn’t know about the midnight sun, I had visited Lofoten only once then and it was in the autumn. I arrived to a frozen tarn surrounded by trees in their spring dress and started skating on it, I felt transported.

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Joie De Vivre Tarot

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altar    I’ve been a long-time fan of Paulina Cassidy. I think she is, with Brian Froud, the most brilliant fairy artist. I love her “Little People”, they are truly fairylike, that is to say: weird in the true and original sense. They can be cute and kind of creepy at the same time, which fits fairies very well because they love paradoxes. They are liminal. Paulina’s fairies often have animal traits, which makes them look like goblins, my current obsession. They’re also very insect like. Actually, they often look like a patchwork of things, borrowing from every natural realm. They’re hybrids. And as with any true hybrid, each borrowed part actually gives us information about their personality.

I recently bought the Joie de Vivre Tarot illustrated by Paulina Cassidy and every card speaks to my heart and soul. No doubt this deck will be one of my favourite, a fabulous companion for my introspective card drawing. And the booklet (for once) is very well written. Here is an example, this is the commentary for the Seven of Wands:

“With the power of conviction radiating from within, Beam bears the courage to remain true to his ambitions. The townsfolk do not approve of his creativity and uniqueness, but Beam refuses to back down. He strives to defend his dreams, no matter what others think.

Stand your ground, and never surrender! Be a leader by going forth with fortitude, and defend that which you love. Be prepared to meet any challenge that comes your way. Remain true to what you believe in and hold on to your unique vision.”

 

My favourite cards from the deck. And yes, this is my assistant:

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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