At its essence art is an alchemical process.
Alchemy is a process of transformation.
—Julia Cameron, Author of, The Artist Way
Have you ever thought about what clay might consist of? The rock-bones of the planet, stardust, ancient fallen leaves that have laid in creek beds. Grasses and vegetation. A baby's hair. Feathers and claws. All left for eons in wind and rain. Year after year, clay passively receives the blessings of sunlight and moonlight. This sticky, moist, earthy substance seems to hold all the world. And in the hands of artist, Satoko Barash, clay turns into something elegant again, rising up into lovely and often iridescent forms. Her pottery reminds us of all the living things from which it originated.
This artist fully enters her work. She tends to each piece with love, etching delicate detailed designs, putting swirling spirals onto her plates—like whirlpools at the base of a a waterfall. Hold one of her cups and you are reminded of rolling hills, flowing streams, and sand dunes in a desert.
Satoko throws her pottery on a wheel and then fires in a soda kiln that she built at her home. With this kiln, she achieves gorgeous color combinations from using soda ash. Spraying soda ash into the kiln during a firing the vapor travels through the air and chemically interacts with the clay, thus creating these wonderful patterns and colors on the exterior surface of each piece. The result is absolutely lovely.
Why do we human beings respond to such beauty in the way we do? Because it restores a sense of possibility in us. In the presence of creative beauty, we ourselves are renewed. Good art brings us back to where we belong: to a state of wonder.
In addition to being beautiful, Satoko’s creations are utilitarian! Cups to drink from! Plates to eat from! So let us feast on this life, my friends! Come see her show, Form and Surface. You won’t be disappointed. First Friday, September 7, at the Northcoast Artists Gallery, in Fort Bragg, 5pm to 8pm.