As a mold maker, I design and construct a form, make a mold from it, and predictably repeat that form, harnessing the power of the multiple. By arranging like objects in space, I suggest relationships between people who are not there—the height and tilt of umbrellas or the positioning of pairs of shoes littering the floor.
As a slip caster, I use porcelain to cast these objects and then collaborate with the kiln. I supported my umbrellas in various ways in the kiln, allowing the warping and shifting that takes place in the firing to affect the way that each umbrella took its final position. The shapes are similar, but have slightly different curves and bends—the movement of fabric under the pressure of falling water now frozen in time.
As a print maker, I utilize the interior surface of the mold as my block, building layers of information with colored slip that will later be exposed. I observe and document what I see—the pattern of a drainage grate, a curled up centipede, the cables of a chair lift merging with the branches of trees—then embed this information in the surfaces of my porcelain forms. Before the firing, I strip away portions of the outer layer of pure white slip, revealing the history that lies beneath.
As a story teller, I draw inspiration from my environments and my own personal history. By extracting an image, a texture, a contour, a pattern, or text from a moment in my life, I begin to build. I construct multiple components into a single piece to signify the notion that these events are fleeting, never still, and can be taken apart and interpreted in different ways—arranging bricks in a particular matrix, I reveal a message through the dots and dashes of Morse code.
From the finest teacup to the rest stop toilet, we encounter porcelain in our daily lives. I rely on the viewer’s notion of the material to come into play when approaching my work—it is fragile and can be broken, yet it is strong and durable—rugged enough to support the weight of a human. Encountering these objects unexpectedly magnifies this experience—porcelain umbrellas floating overhead, or a row of porcelain objects creating a pathway in the forest, or a sidewalk of porcelain bricks in an otherwise empty courtyard.
My offering is an opportunity for pause, allowing the viewers time and space in the quiet environments I create or asking them to consider an element in the landscape that may have otherwise gone unnoticed.
-Rachel K. Garceau