This blog describes the process and inspirations for the creation of Kanika Marshall's mixed media sculptures.


| 28 January, 2014 04:18


2014 is a new year and a new course of action: teaching clay and mixed media classes.

If you know anything about me, you know that I LOVE TO CREATE ART!  Whether it be clay masks or steel totems or quilts, my brain is always thinking of beautiful new things to make. I have had the good fortune to sell my art in galleries, stores, at art shows, at my studio, and from my website. But carrying around often big and heavy art pieces does take a toll on my aging body. After all, I've got 40 years to go to catch up to my 107 year-old Aunt Reba, so I need to take it easier on the body in the future.
At the AARP convention in Atlanta, Georgia, in October 2013, I learned about their "Life Reimagined" concept - their online surveys help the over-50 set to identify new goals and dreams. After much thought, I came to the conclusion that teaching my art techniques to others might be another way to share my love of creating art. But my tiny studio can only comfortably accommodate two other people (four can fit, but it's real cozy!).


I joined the Elk Grove Fine Arts Center (EGFAC) last summer, partly to help support the center, partly to show/sell my work closer to home, and partly to be able to teach classes in their training room. Last fall, I circulated an online survey to find out what type of clay classes people might be interested in taking from me. By the way, I would still love to get your viewpoint about this topic, so feel free to fill out my online survey and let me know what you think: Classes Survey.


After analyzing the initial survey results, I set up a schedule of classes for 2014:


So let's get started on this new plan of action!  On January 16th and 23rd, four excited artists convened in the EGFAC workshop room to learn how to carve and paint a clay platter. I had developed a curriculum designed to stimulate their bodies, minds, and ability to call upon the "spirit of the clay." They learned a little bit about the clay art process, tools, textures, and color glazes. In a very short four hours on the first day, everyone had carved a few small projects and 12"-14" platter. I marveled at how differently the students approached their project: two had sketched out a design and traced it onto the clay then carved their image; two used several texture tools; one used her fingers to create hills and valleys; one used her fingernail to create an interesting texture; and one systemmatically built a design from the left to right side of the platter. Here is a pictorial synopsis of first day activities:




The students were given a homework assignment to select the colors they wanted to use from a color chart emailed to them; that saved a LOT of time so we were able to get started quickly during the second class. After the platters dried completely over a four-day period, they were fired in my kiln to about 2100 degrees Fahrenheit. Nothing cracked or blew up! Good job ladies!


The following week, I explained a little about the glazing process and showed students numerous ceramic samples that illustrated glossy, crystalline, and underglazes and why/when you would use them. I demonstrated red iron oxide and how it can enhance textures. We first painted a small project to get used to the process, then tackled the big platter. I was so thankful that the students helped cleanup everything at the end of the class. One person was unable to attend the second class and would finish her painting later at my studio.


Now comes the last firing in the kiln to see the final results!!! We all met at my studio to affix wire to the backs of our platters and share hors d'oeuvres and stories about our clay experiences. And voila!
Now comes the Ceramic Mask class in April. If you are interested in taking a class with me, please register with Elk Grove Fine Art Center  by calling 916-685-5992. More information about classes is on My Classes webpage: I would love to work with you.