a long journey on ceramic ceramic road...
As a 7 year old, I sensed something was not quite right with clay. So many times a finished work would fell apart in my hands the morning after. I called it the heartbreak of ceramics. By college, The barrier to entry and mastery of ceramic arts was steep. Fear of cracks was an invisible wall to expressive freedom which no one questioned. Artist would abandon the lengthy study to master ceramics for far less technical media, WSIWG so they could avoid the heartbreak.
True mastery of the discipline was only for the type of person who- as the late ceramist Jean Griffith would say- can open a kiln full of disappointment such as clay-glaze cracks, glaze dripping, crawling, flaking, color shifts then pick oneself up, and start over the next day until things looked right. Eventually many settled happily for ready made molds and etc, store bought clay and glazes, and follow the instructions listed.
Extreme caution in assembly, babying the traditional work along to avoid "catastrophic failure" later on, wasted hours time drying, or fuel. This was a sport and the masters prided themselves on advantages they could get because they put in the time to learn the secrets of how to compensate. Few took risks to develop new form as result.
I expected a an affordable versatile eco-friendly sculpture, prototype and modeling and sculpture clay that vastly increased expressive freedom for anyone who needed a way to bring thought to form. Everyone explained patiently all the reasons why such a dream was impossible!
But why would I even think that such a clay exists and search for years?
Fast forward decades.....
While I have chronicled of years of struggle-in formal peer reviewed research I haven't written the personal side of what it was like to challenge my bias and ignorance of every sort imaginable over years. Trials of paperclay by fire took time. Eventually I could get consistent advantages and result.
I'm happy to report that the breakthrough I made triggered a domino effect for artists success and advantages to the point where paths opened worldwide for all.
Rosette Gault, Ph.D. and M.F.A. is the world known art art and design innovator who after nearly 20 years of search begun in 1971, published advantages and best use for her paperclay compounds in 1990 that would subsequently change 85% of the traditional ceramics practice. Artists worldwide were quick to adopt and update and went on to build art never possible to build in traditional clay. A field of paperclay ceramic art and design developed. She exhibited artist, published author, sustainable materials researcher, master teacher, visionary, and composer.
Her contribution thus far includes more than 130 exhibitions 4 books to help studio artists and designers bring their dreams to reality in a tangible practical way, a (now expired) US Patent 5,726,111, DVD, websites and and more than 40 journal articles. She has serving artists at prominent institutions as well as community groups. Her worldwide teaching led to the establishment of a field of paperclay ceramic media and opened the doors to significant advance in art and design, engineering with sustainable materials. Paperclay Art and Practice: The New Ceramics (UPenn/Bloomsbury) appeared in 2014. Her newest project is a book Healing Clay will update the latest research,
Her company, New Century Arts, Inc. is based in Seattle with studios on Bainbridge and Kingston WA.