Hi, I'm Catharine Healey, here at Mark First Fire Art Studio. I thought today I would talk about what gives me inspiration, or what inspires me. And after having given that some thought I really feel like it's life cycles. I mean you see it on Earth, you see a seed, and it has to go in the ground and then it changes, some people say it dies in one form and comes up and springs out, and then there's sprouting green things that come up. And then a few weeks later there's leaves, and then they're getting greener, and then they turn golden color, or burnt orange, and then they fall. And then you see architecture of the trees, it's amazing. It just all captivates me.
And it's interesting because, interesting to me at least, that when I was a little kid I remember exploring outside and noticing all of those things close up, and now that I've been here in Asheville for the last three years it's like I'm a little kid again. I get to explore those things, but where it's coming out now is on clay, in clay, on clay, even the whole process.
So it's almost interesting that every time I've touched the clay something different might pop up. Just like right here in this vase, it's the first time I've done a vase like this. And I think it looks pretty cool. So actually, in my artwork, since I've been here I've taken different segments of time and I explore, in my studio, and I think what I'm going to do is share with you some of the process that I went through, and via show you the pieces that I've made and that are inspired by nature.
For instance, I made these pieces right here, and they were inspired from pods, certain time of year and the process. Let's say something flowers, it went through its full transition, and then it turns into a pod, and then it bursts open, and then seeds come out, and it all starts again. So I just, I love pods, I can't even tell you why, I just love them so much. So this is my first sculpting, creating the look of the pod.
Then, talking about firsts, there's always the first time that you make something and you're like, "Oh, I love that." So here was the first time, this was actually the product of the first time that I pressed a pine branch into my high-fire clay. It's a type of clay that actually has a little bit of paper particle in it, so it makes a really cool torn edge. Which, when I made more in different firing cycles and different seasons, I embellished that. And so on some of the pieces you might see a little more torn edge because I accented it with oxides. And so this is just a different expression. We got kind of gray, ghosty images that are in there, and that just happened in the kiln. That's why I love clay work, you never know what you're going to get sometimes, but I love surprises.
Then I was at Biltmore for the first time, my first winter here, went there and it was winter, so the leaves were gone out of the trees. I was focusing in on the bark of a ornamental cherry tree. I came and, actually it was on a platter, a small little platter, I started doing these little textural, I think they're called [lindoceles 00:04:24], it's how the trees breathe I learned. But five or six cycles of making, and trying to refine the surface to get the satisfaction I wanted that looked kind of like the ornamental ... inspired by, or influenced by, and my final step was I had to spray wood ash here and there, and I'm like, "Okay." Did that, and I got these marks, and that was it, I was so happy. So this is one of my happy pieces, because it just gave me that satisfaction of capturing what inspired me.
And this is a tray that I made, this oval tray, just a flat tray, but it has that same type of inspiration with the textures. And it has a lot of the wood ash glaze on it. So this was actually the first piece that I sprayed wood ash glaze on, and I knew I was onto something. So I think I'll keep all these first pieces. So that was that one.
And I progressed, and this is how maybe my form has changed from the original form. I'm just in, we're going to take it through the same process, but the form's just a little more graceful. And then this is another series inspired, I see that as maybe the seeds starting bursting, and the leaves starting to come out. I also see it, it's almost like a celebration, like it's little hands are up. So something about this makes me happy.