Kathlyn J Avila-Reys is a ceramic artist who paint emotions and special effects on her clay sculptures. She completed the Post-fired Finishes class of Marie EVB Gibbons at TeachinArt.
Here is Kathlyn in her own words.
I have exhibited my work at numerous galleries, universities, and institutions. I have received a number of awards and certificates, as well as being selected to have a solo show entitled, “No Ordinary Woman”. The theme of this show grew out of my childhood interest in the women in my community, especially those considered to have “special powers”- whether real or imagined. Although I’m inspired by people I have encountered, my figures embody “familiar souls” that viewers can recognize regardless of where or when they grew up. Each of my figures is an expression of a unique individual, whose story is told through adornment, symbolism, and gesture.
Color, pattern, and texture intrigues me which promotes an open playground for ceramics and the ability to explore many of its possibilities. I have always been a doll maker, but the transition of making cloth dolls to ceramic figures has given me a broader enjoyment and satisfaction in the process of their creation. I love the idea of working with a medium that
challenges me to transform a ball of clay into forms and figures that become characters based on my life and imagination. Working in clay has become my mental retreat, my vacation away from the world, my hands are happiest when in the process of construction. My intricate style echoes the influences of African, Native American and Latin American cultures. I uniquely design my work with an ensemble of metaphysical symbolism and color, which then captures an aura of mysticism, magic,
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Dementia is a brain disease that causes a long-term and often gradual memory loss and decrease in the ability to think. It affects a person's daily functioning and family members have to learn to cope with something that they do not understand.
Marie EVB Gibbons is one of the online instructors at TeachinArt who teaches the online workshop, post-fired finishes. She shows in her online class how to paint with acrylics on clay. She makes her own clay sculptures and each of these is used to tell a life story.
Her dad went through the struggles of dementia, and as an artist, she tried to understand what it means to loose your memory and mind. Here is Marie in her own words. She uses her clay sculptures and acrylic paints to express the emotions and sadness of dealing with dementia (loss of memory).
I watched this video again - of me speaking about what I was trying to figure out about dementia, and I look at that now and think, wow, those were the good old days.
That is when my Dad could acknowledge his malfunctioning memory, but still manage to move forward, and live his life.
Now, my Dad is living in a memory care facility. He is in a constant state of not knowing, not understanding, not remembering.
Now, he tries so hard to gain an understanding of why. Why is he there. What has happened to him. What is being done to help him.
The saddest part - in my opinion, is that you can't explain to a person with dementia that they have dementia.
I think even cancer is a kinder evil. At least someone with cancer can understand there is an evil in their body, an illness.
A person with dementia cannot understand that their brain is dying, it is not working with them anymore, in fact it is working against them. The very thing (the brain) that helps one comprehend, is not an aid in problem solving and analysis, but a tool of distraction. It's like accidentally leaning on the delete button of your keyboard, and all of a sudden being witness to things just erasing, to become unaccessible.
When he doesn't know who I am, he questions if I am someone important to him. I choose to believe that this is proof of the heart's memory. That somehow, in his being, he knows me, but it is not in the traditional way of knowing. When I confirm that I am someone important, that I am his daughter, it brings him to tears, and to feelings of stupidity, and sadness. How can a father forget his child, his wife, his life. I try to comfort him with explanations that might make sense, to both he and I. I like the analogy of an air bubble. I tell him, "I am in an air bubble right now. You can't see the information that goes with me, but the bubble will pop eventually (and hopefully, for a little longer) and then you'll put it all together again, as it is visible, even if just for a moment.
That is dementia to me at this moment.
Something that has stolen my father's mind, life, memories, being. We have this physical body in front of us that tempts us into a belief that maybe, just maybe things could be OK again.
But, that is far from the truth. I find myself mourning a soul, being stuck with a body. It's such a conflict.
Post-fired finishes e-course with Marie Gibbons
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One of TeachinArt online teachers, Antoinette Badenhorst presented a hands-on workshop at the Pottery Studio in Bryanston South Africa where she demonstrated the carving and altering process of porcelain.
She calls porcelain the "Diva of clay" and tells her students that they have to understand the character of the clay to really push it to it's limits.
Understanding porcelain e-course with Antoinette Badenhorst
Porcelain handbuilding online workshop with Antoinette Badenhorst
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TeachinArt is an online art school with professional artists as instructors who educate, enridge and promote art.