Micaceous Rock and "Yellow Gold Glitter" Premo Polymer Clay Mix, by Karen A. Scofield. 2016.

Polymer Clay Micaceous Rock Composite Goddess Pendants, by Karen A. Scofield. 2016.

Polymer Clay Micaceous Rock Composite Goddess Goddess Pendants, by Karen A. Scofield. 2016.

Polymer Clay Micaceous Rock Composite Goddess Goddess Pendants, by Karen A. Scofield. 2016.

Micaceous Rock and

Micaceous Rock and “Yellow Gold Glitter” Premo Polymer Clay Mix, by Karen A. Scofield. 2016.

Micaceous Polymer Clay Goddess Pendants, by Karen A. Scofield. 2016.

Micaceous Polymer Clay Goddess Pendants, by Karen A. Scofield. 2016.

Appears more glittery and sparkly in person.

Micaceous rock from family land in South Dakota was crushed and added to “Yelllow Gold Glitter” Premo polymer clay — the stronger polymer clay by Sculpey that’s suitable for making thinner beads like this. (Always wear a mask if working with micaceous rock in this manner to avoid permanent lung disease.)

About 2″ long and 1/4 inch thick. Mica powder patterns, a sun or spirals, were stamped into the raw clay before curing. The sun and spiral symbolism can have significance. E.g. http://www.whats-your-sign.com/spiral-meaning.html. Small bead holes are added after curing (now shown), usually after jewelry design is complete. Design may determine hole placement and number.

The finished beads look very much like some of the micaceous earth in South Dakota. The particular rocks used in making this came from family land right by Medicine Mountain, which is sacred land. So these beads have personal significant meaning for me in at least four ways. They are my creative expression, the rock comes from family land, the rock comes from the vicinity of sacred land upon which I attended a ritual, the rock represents time spent with family, and the symbolism is well chosen, of course.

Medicine Mountain Background:www.flickr.com/photos/sari0009/19354330223/in/dateposted-... There are two Medicine Mountains and only one is in South Dakota. The history and backstory for this particular Medicine Mountain is hard to find, hence my link is offered here.

Interesting Factoid: In some areas of South Dakota, the ground glitters like gold due to the earth and rocks’ micaceous (mica-filled) nature and looks magical.

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Hand Sculpted Voluptuous Ceramic Goddess Pendants, by Karen A. Scofield

Finally Glazed my First Ceramic Goddess Pendants!

Two of these darlings are in Red Roses Bead Haven, a local bead shop, to test the waters, as it were.

Pictures and a short video. These pendants  represent my first experience with teaching myself how to sculpt and work with ceramics. I previously worked with polymer clay. It’s taken me four months to get to this point because I don’t own my own glazes or kiln. I’m lucky enough that a local art gallery will fire them for me and will let me use donated glazes. However, it’s often three weeks or so between firings, more if the kiln breaks down as it did recently.

One is made of red micaceous (contains mica) clay and didn’t need to be glazed like the rest.

Hand Sculpted Voluptuous Ceramic Goddess Pendants, by Karen A. Scofield

Hand Sculpted Voluptuous Ceramic Goddess Pendants, by Karen A. Scofield

Ceramic Goddess Pendants by SE Wisconsin artist, Karen A. Scofield

Ceramic Goddess Pendants by SE Wisconsin artist, Karen A. Scofield

Ceramic Goddess Pendants by SE Wisconsin artist, Karen A. Scofield. 2016.

Ceramic Goddess Pendants by SE Wisconsin artist, Karen A. Scofield. 2016.

Bisque Fired Handmade Earthenware Ceramic Clay Goddess Pendants by Karen A. Scofield. 2016.

My First Ceramic Bisque Fired Goddess Pendants

Bisque Fired Handmade Earthenware Ceramic Clay Goddess Pendants by Karen A. Scofield. 2016.

Bisque Fired Handmade Earthenware Ceramic Clay Goddess Pendants by Karen A. Scofield. 2016.

Yes, another picture and video of my beads but these are my very first ceramic fired anything! It took several weeks for them to get fired (not my schedule, not my kiln), but here they are before an iron oxide wash that will give them an earthy iron color. Weeeeee! I have to grok at them some more because I DID THESE! Me! He he.

Taps all fingertips together at once … what else can I do with cermamic clay without a wheel?

Sculpted Goddess Pendant strung with wooden and ceramic beads, By Karen A. Scofield. 2016.

Sculpted Goddess Pendant strung with wooden and ceramic beads, By Karen A. Scofield. 2016.

 

Earthenware clay figurative pendants, by Karen A. Scofield

Ceramic Clay Dare: I Sculpt a Goddess Pendant on Camera

I sculpted with polymer clay before and, in ceramic clay, I sculpted the backside of a bead without a mold. Now I have dared myself to sculpt an entire bead without the use of any of my molds ( I molded my own beads)in earthenware clay, a medium still very new to me. So I did this on camera.

I’ll get better at filming. And sculpting. But for now, at least I know I can do this and I feel a lot better about doing 20, 50, or more figurative pendants like this, in different sizes and styles of course.

The Finished Pendant (Standing)

Earthenware clay figurative pendants, by Karen A. Scofield

Earthenware clay figurative pendants, by Karen A. Scofield

Earthenware clay figurative pendants, by Karen A. Scofield

Earthenware clay figurative pendants, by Karen A. Scofield

July 21, 2017 Note: I’ve ordered ceramic clay sculpting tools!

Earthenware Clay ceramic Goddess pendants to be bisque fired, by Karen A. Scofield

Earthenware Clay Ceramic Goddess Pendants Ready for Bisque Firing

Earthenware Clay ceramic Goddess pendants to be bisque fired, by Karen A. Scofield

Earthenware Clay ceramic Goddess pendants, need to be bisque fired, by Karen A. Scofield

So I’ve done that.  By the time they’re completely done, to the last glaze firing, each Goddess pendant will have taken well over two or three hours hands-on time, specifically, to make. At minimum.

This does not count the time taken for prototype and bead mold development. I used polymer clays for those steps.

It also does not count the time to transport the pendants to the kiln to get fired several times (they will be glazed) or any effort involved in selling them (websites, teaching, writing, making videos…whatever it takes to beat obscurity and poverty).

I first envisioned popping these beauties out in just seconds, with them ready to be fired.  I found that bead molds for such curvaceous figurative beads are more like guidelines. That might not be such the case with shallower, less curvaceous pendants. We shall see.

I found the trick in creating these ceramic beads is to use perhaps damper clay than usual so I can get the clay smoothly and deeply into the mold without creases or partial filling of deeper areas. However, this means I work on these beauties quite a bit after I pop them out of the mold due to distortion and marring.

When I tried to fix these distortion errors, I create other distortions while doing that, the clay is so soft. So I have to fix those and back-and-forth it goes for a while until I am satisfied.

When I add the bellybutton (which takes 3 tools) and details of the pelvic area and lines of the derrière,  there’s this same back-and-forth process of perfecting and correcting.

Aaaaand the same process happens for the bead holes. In the process of creating them, I create distortions that I have to fix and while  I’m fixing those, that might create distortions…and back-and-forth it goes until I’m  satisfied.

I work on these earthenware pendants both wet and dry — I also sand them and finally buff them carefully on my big, super thick as terry cloth bathrobe.

Earthenware Greenware Handmade Ceramic Goddess Pendant, by Karen A. Scofield

The Evolution of Karen’s Beads

Shorter Video

Longer Video

Good news! I have found out I can fire and glaze my beads locally. Probably do this in batches of a dozen each. Here is one that has finished drying and is ready for bisque firing.

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Earthenware Greenware Handmade Ceramic Goddess Pendant, by Karen A. Scofield

Why Goddess Pendants or Focal Beads?


Before there were pussy hats, there were Goddess pendants. After pussy hats, there will still be Goddess pendants. 

Earthenware Greenware Handmade Ceramic Goddess Pendant, by Karen A. Scofield

Earthenware Greenware Handmade Ceramic Goddess Pendant, by Karen A. Scofield. 2016.

Why Goddess Pendants? To better answer that, we have to understand the many reasons we make any human figurative art or study female/Goddess figures throughout human history. See http://suppressedhistories.net/

In some languages, the word for history also means storyhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History

Micaceous Rock and "Yellow Gold Glitter" Premo Polymer Clay Mix, by Karen A. Scofield. 2016.

Micaceous Rock and “Yellow Gold Glitter” Premo Polymer Clay Mix, by Karen A. Scofield. 2016.

Through my beads, I’m telling my story — I’m a woman, domestic abuse survivor, an artist, I’m on the autism spectrum, and my Goddess pendants help tell my story in the contexts of an interest in equality, as opposed to abuse and sexism.  My beads are about equality and power — it’s abuse vs. equality. Women’s rights and Goddess stuff are considered too minority interest, too fringe despite the fact that half the world is female, and that’s a problem. Goddess/female figures may even be banned or get demonized.

Handmade Goddess Pendants, by Karen A. Scofield

Handmade Goddess Pendants, by Karen A. Scofield

Example 1: I had drawn renditions of the Venus of Willendorf, a world famous archaeological find, on shrink plastic and made pendants of them. fThese shrink plastic beads were banned on Myspace as obscene. Here’s what they looked like.

A Shrink Plastic Representation of the World Famous Venus of Willendorf, by Karen A. Scofield
Example 2: I wore a Goddess necklace to Walmart. The cashier suggested I could make money selling them as rather, tee-hee, lewd little party favors at bachelor or bachelorette parties. She had absolutely no inkling that she shouldn’t simply sexualize and peg them in such a narrow, restrictive manner, as opposed to all that the Goddess concept can potentially encompass on a daily basis. Equality touches all all aspects of life, and this shouldn’t be marginalized, pegged as a lewd/lesbian thing, or treated as a fringe topic. Anyway, my Goddess pendant was profane image to her, but to those that wear them, Goddess art and pendants are more of a spiritual and intellectual thing and, more specifically, symbolize spiritual and social equality. They embody, invoke, and evoke this.

As an artist, I cultivate messages and images that are needed, rather than what people are conditioned to lap up from the pundits, pulpits, and consumerism. It concerns me that the world is full of “sanitized,” corporate-made, mainstream images and messages about women and their bodies, messages that are loaded with sexism both overt and/or insidious.

The pussy hat phenomenon shows us that feminine symbols of equality ARE needed. There is the desire to create our world pluralistically without the reality filters of sexism, cultural triumphalism, racism, or creedism (religious prejudice). I desire more autonomous and honest dialog and equality, and I hope you do too.

We still live in a world in which women often don’t get paid the same amount for doing the same job no matter how well they do it, or even if they do it better. As a US citizen, I live in a country in which a considerable majority of art gallery artists are male. It’s a country in which women’s art generally sells for only a small fraction of the profit that art made by men can fetch. We live in a world in which the majority of religion is really male-centric and male-dominated. We live in a world in which men’s voices are given more weight and are heard more. It’s not Goddess, it’s God with no room for any female divine. Instead, we still have the Madonna-Whore Complex. The feminine divine either is falsely demonized, socially/theologically outlawed (or banned), or turned into a whore.

Anti-intellectual, male dominated paradigms hold feminine equality at odds with more formative power structures, be they economic, religious, artistic, or what have you. How is sexism considered to be the fabric of society? And what does that have to do with domestic violence anyway?

See “The Ascent of Woman”http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0693dsh

Domestic Abuse and the Metaparadigm (Mother World View) of Abuse/War

the most reliable indicator of whether or not there is violence inside a country, or whether it will use military violence against another country, is not poverty or access to natural resources or religion or even degree of democracy. It’s violence against females.” — from “Gloria Steinem’s new show links global instability to violence against women: “For the first time there are fewer females on earth than males

The Power and Control (Abuse) and Equality (Nonviolence) wheels, what they mean, what they look like in current events or everyday situations are sadly only usually discussed, shown, or used during domestic abuse prevention/recovery. They are, in fact, paradigmatic and are applicable on a personal, local, national, and global scale. Here’s what goes on with the Power and Control (Abuse) paradigm.

Methods of abusive power and control have been and continue to be used as social, legal, religious, and financial weapons and they often result in violence, be it domestic or wartime violence. The Power and Control wheel/paradigm is diametrically opposed to Equality because it relies on abusive imbalances of power. This is true whether they pretend to protect us and have our best interests in mind or whether they lay bare their prejudices, sexism, and ambitions.  It takes power and rights away from others in order to feel powerful and it’s a massive failure of imagination.

Here’s a page from my art journal on the Equality (nonviolence) power wheel. Notice the notes on imagination.

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Art Journal. Equality. Power. Tools of Change.

Art is the Antidote

How is it that society today hasn’t quit its addiction to prejudice, bigotry, sexism and the like? I don’t pretend to understand all that and I hope I never do. I can imagine many other paths to power. I can imagine sharing it. And as a woman and an artist, I shape a more inclusive world in clay, canvas, paper, fiber, cloth, and words. Art is an antidote. Symbols matter. Symbols are powerful and my art beads are ones I can bring into all sorts of every day settings.