Monday, March 28, 2016

Studio Visit: Mark Chatterley

Mark Chatterley in his studio with big dog work in process.
I met Mark Chatterley while we were both installing sculptures at Knoxville's Art in Public Places back in 2013. His artwork made an impression on me because it was A) figurative and B) ceramic, both of which, by themselves, is pretty rare for outdoor sculpture exhibitions and something we have in common.
 I looked him up when I got home and kept a bookmark of his website. My artistic journey has been taking me more and more into the world of ceramics and his work was always in the back of mind. 
Lots of people say you cannot exhibit free-standing ceramic sculptures in the out-of-doors because the work will absorb water, freeze, and damage the work. Somehow Mark had figured this out, because his work is made and exhibited in Michigan and can spend months below freezing. Ceramics can withstand the winter as long as the clay body is fully vitrified and doesn't have a place for water to pool. He does have his own recipe of clay, which he was willing to share with me. 
I found out I'd be spending some time within an hour's drive of his studio I was excited to visit with Mark and pick his brain and talk shop. 

Mark's studio is crammed with these tall figures, some draped in plastic, some out in the yard, some in groupings all smooshed together. He has been an active sculptor for 30 years and it was nice to meet someone doing something as similar as I am but with much more experience. He was welcoming to my visit and showed me his studio and we sat and talked about business and life.

Chatterley Studio

He built a kiln large enough to stack these full-size ceramic pieces.

The wall of the walk-in kiln.

I not a good photographer. Everywhere you look are these figures.

I really like these giant heads.

He uses this foam to attach the ceramic to things, such as for installing outside. I didn't think of gluing the pieces down.

4ft high head with little feet. Plus a puppy. 

Funky fish. 

Wall of crosses and skulls with pile of clay. Random symbolism of life, sacrifice, death, and rebirth. 

More heads.

What's up dog?

This bird was new from the kiln. 

Deer in his yard. Notice the bird feeders are little sculptures. 
If you want to know more about Mark Chatterley, visit his website here.
I'm glad I got to meet a bird of a feather and I thank him for visiting with me. I'm excited to continue working in clay and making sculptures. Thanks for reading.