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


| 30 August, 2014 10:41

Four spirited artists joined me on August 14th and 21st for my first Goddess Art workshop of 2014 at the Elk Grove Fine Arts Center (EGFAC). Two of ladies had taken previous clay classes from me, and one purchased the class for herself and her girlfriend as a birthday present.
I provide all materials and tools for all of my classes at EGFAC, including clay, tools, glazes, and kiln firing. A few days prior to all of my classes, students receive an email which prepares them mentally for the class of what to expect and what else they may bring to enhance their experience. This often includes a link to a video(s) which illustrates the upcoming project(s). 
On the first day of class, we introduced ourselves and explained whether we've used clay or another art medium. Then, it was time to relieve the stress of the day by doing a series of fun and relaxing exercises. This really set the stage to getting our creative juices flowing. I described my expectations for the first and second day of class and then described what the Clay process is all about (chemical makeup, kiln firing, etc.). I demonstrated the first project, which was playing with various tools and stamps and textured clay rolling pins to make textures on our small, rolled out clay slabs.
Depending on the clay class, I have students make something from that textured slab. In this Goddess class, we made a Goddess wall hanging after watching my how-to video: . At first, the students were a little quiet and serious about exploring the numerous texture stamps and homemade textured rolling pins. Soon thereafter, though, everyone loosened up and began laughing and encouraging one another and, yes, having loads of fun!
The next project was to use some of my specially-made clay molds to make Goddess pendant necklaces after watching my how-to video: . I was enthralled with the creativity these ladies employed, some incorporating shells and stones in the clay.

Next, was the most difficult project - a three-dimensional Goddess statue. Each student was lead through the figure forming process, step by step, as shown in this video: Even though we all used the same basic procedure, everyone came out with a very different Goddess statue. One student put two spheres where the buttocks should be, another inserted holes into the shoulders for eventual wings, another carved an eye into the belly, another made curvy arms, and another made a fierce Bird-Woman.  
Then we dipped/painted the statues in black and/or red iron oxide glazes.
The last project was making a clay stand for the statue. After my demonstration, the ladies pounded and formed the stand, added a hole in the center into which a dowel would be placed to hold the hollow statue legs. Students painted the stands with iron oxide glaze.
At my studio later that evening,  I made sure that all class artworks were ready for firing in a kiln. AREN'T THEY ALL FABULOUS???
A few days later, after all pieces were completely dried, I fired them in the kiln, to cone 06, which is about 1,900 degrees. This "low fire" heat changes the highly brittle green ware to a vitreous/waterproof ceramic clay body after about six hours. Happily, the only mishap was that some of the imbedded shells crumbled from the heat. The ladies will be happily surprised with their efforts.
What a fun way to start the second day of the Goddess Art class with a birthday party for Nancy! We had a super delicious chocolate cake, homemade nectarine cobbler, some muffins, and a little special beverage to celebrate the day. 
Now, time to get to work using acrylic paints on the Goddess wallhanging and pendant.
Then the ladies went crazy adding fabric, beads, feathers, glass and shells to the 3-D Goddess statues. I think that ANYTHING GOES with art, so I also showed them how to use spray paints to achieve mottled effects (lower right).
Nancy, the birthday girl, created a colorful Goddess altar, classy muted tone Goddess pendant with shell, and a feathered Goddess clad in shells and glass streaming down to her stand. Amazing!
Sonja, the Color Queen, created three vibrant, uplifting Goddesses. She used acrylic and spray paint to achieve these looks. And look and her wire hanging treatments!
Wendy added more finishing touches at home. She was particularly adept at using interesting shells and stones in her work. Love the red wings and special personal items!!!
Rosa also added more special touches to her pieces the next day, including a phenomenal feather cape on her Raven Goddess, and swirly wire hangers. Extraordinary layers of color.
Yes, class can be fun!
If you want to join the merriment, check out the wide variety of art classes and workshops available in the next two months at the Elk Grove Fine Arts Center:
or check out the annual events at:
Advance registration online is highly recommended as seating is limited.