Firemaker : The Inspiration

We talk to Sonya about the inspiration, creation and story behind the making of Bodaway, or Firemaker.”Bodaway is an unusual piece in the (Sonoran) collection as he has a more open shape compared to the taller and slender vases; I wasn’t too sure how he would turn out while I was making him, but I rather like his unique form.  While I was making him I decided to layer the slabs of clay as I built higher, I reversed the corrugated ribbing so it appeared on the inside of the piece and then made a feature of the layered slabs on the outside by keeping the joins exposed and later emphasising them with Platinum Lustre.  I like the fact that his form has a rotational quality; as you walk around the piece you get a sense of volume, expanse, and energy being generated and then propelled outwards.  This fits well with his Apache name ‘Firemaker’ – after all he was christened in a kiln which traditionally would have been a fire pit in the old tradition of ceramics.

The main inspiration behind Bodaway was the Sonoran Cactus.  These statuesque plants gave me so many ideas for translation into clay forms.  I enjoyed their very distinctive texture, their unique undulating form and the way they stand across the desert landscape as if they are waiting, silently.  Sometimes they are grouped together so they can whisper to each other and sometimes they stand alone in quiet contemplation.  I think Bodaway would stand alone, strong in his roots, bellowing from his deep torso!

Bodaway is an important part of the collection because he represents diversity and how an idea can be translated into different functional and versatile forms.  On a practical level his form offers the opportunity for voluptuous flower bouquets to be arranged in the bellows of his open vase shape.  I like to be able to offer the viewer a range of forms and ideals in an exhibition and Bodaway is one of the more striking, practical yet unusual pieces.

The layering of the outer clay slabs in Bodaway has already influenced other pieces of work in the collection.  This technique grew into how I applied the fluted rims of the ‘Flowering Sonorans’.  Again, with some of these pieces I decided to leave the joins exposed on the outside and enhance them with Platinum Lustre, they too exhibit the rotational quality of Bodaway but in a more delicate way.  I am in the process of making an extended Sonoran range of vessels using this technique because so many of the pieces have sold, and I need more for up and coming exhibitions.  This overlapping technique will be seen in differing guises going forward – I’m really excited to extend this approach further and see what evolves.

I don’t have any particular anecdotes from when I created Bodaway accept I would say he is a fine example of where ‘even if I have an image in my mind’s eye of how I think a piece will evolve, I always listen to the clay’.  Creating with clay is such an organic process you just can’t ignore it when it speaks to you!  So I always hold intent, but watch, listen and translate accordingly as I go along….you never quite know what you’ll end up with, but that’s half the fun and why I just can’t resist ceramics!”

See more of Bodaway

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