Fisk Metallic Burial Case, LSU Rural Life Museum, Baton Rouge, LA
Once in Philadelphia, I settled in to the studios at Tyler School of Art to do a two-month residency with the goal of utilizing the 120 cubic foot gas kiln for a large-scale sculpture. I started to search for more information about the casket. I discovered it was called a Fisk Metallic Burial Case and was used in the mid to late 1800s. Spaces that contain human life and leave evidence of a person have been a source of inspiration for me. The Fisk casket was a place for a body that seemed strangely beautiful, materially specific, and carefully ornamented to reflect the person it held inside. I began to build one out of clay using soft slabs to build the hollow form. Building on a cart, I was able to move around the piece freely. When I was close to being finished, I slid the piece into the gas kiln and worked for a few more days to finish the fine details.
Process ImagesIn addition to the residency, I gave an artist talk and hands-on workshop on soft-slab construction of the figure at The Clay Studio in Philadelphia. This was a fantastic experience and taught me a great deal about doing workshops. Within six hours, most of the class was able to build a nearly life-size clay bust and begin to work on fine details. Ideally, a second day would have been beneficial, but the productivity of the students was really exciting.
The Figure in Clay Workshop, The Clay Studio, Philadelphia, PA. Photo Credit: Bridget Mae Furnace
The Figure In Clay Workshop, Photo Credit: Emily Moody