Saturday, July 14, 2012

A convergence of robins

Christina Bothwell, "Old Soul Baby," cast glass and raku clay
Follower Chase recommended the brilliant website The Museum of Ridiculously Interesting Things, which is written by Chelsea Nichols, a doctoral candidate at the University of Oxford. As I scrolled down, I saw several things I'd blogged about myself, then came to the art of Christina Bothwell (example above, slideshow here), which Nichols describes as follows:
"Taking aesthetic inspiration from vintage toys and dolls, antique medical illustrations and old machinery, her work embodies a sense of the nostalgic entwined with that ineffable emotion of wonder. With their colorful glass bodies, delicately modeled limbs and faces, hidden layers and surreal appendages, Bothwell’s imaginative figures seem like they were plucked from some forgotten fairy tale (one which I am desperate to read). There is an enchanting quality about her work which I can’t quite articulate, but I think at least part of it stems from her use of the translucent glass to explore the co-existence of the inner and outer workings of the body. The glass allows a soft light to radiate through the figure and reveal hidden treasures and imperfections within, but its material vulnerability also mirrors the vulnerability of the figures she depicts: little girls, infants, and small animals. A little bit magical and a little bit menacing, Bothwell’s intriguing sculptures invite the viewer to imagine their own narrative for her figures and to delight in their visual curiosity."
Bothwell moved from New York to Stillwater, Pennsylvania, in 1995 and that same year discovered an old clay kiln at an auction and taught herself to work with pit-fired clay. After taking a workshop in glass casting at Corning Museum, she began incorporating glass into her work with clay, sewn materials, and found objects. The artist has received numerous grants and several awards. When she began to use animal parts in her sculpures in 2009, she stated, "For a long time the idea of taxidermy made me feel kind of queasy, but this past winter I saw a taxidermied blue jay at a child’s birthday party and it was so beautiful I couldn’t stop thinking of it. What started out as consumer lust eventually led to thinking about how I could add that element to my work and maybe capture some of that same quality that moved me in the blue jay." I think she's succeeded - in the work with and without birds.

Also in my e-mail in-box (which I am trying to weed out) is a link from family friend Sandra to the video of a family of birds that nested in a hanging plant.  Entitled "Robins: 4 Eggs, 4 Weeks," it's worth a look!
Previous sculpture-themed posts:

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