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Posts Tagged ‘murals’

Voyage by Sam Gibsh

Sam Gibsh was born in and grew up in Haifa. He obtained an engineering degree in California and earned an MBA at Tel-Aviv University.  He then moved to Boston and worked at an engineering firm for about a decade.   Gibsh abandoned his engineering career to become a full time ceramic artist, and moved back to Israel.  From 2000 to 2006 he was enrolled at the Giveat Haviva Ceramics School in Israel. He also spent five summers at the HCP Studio (2002-2007) where he learned tile-making techniques, methods of glazing, firing and mural installation, particularly from Wasmaa Chorbachi and Nancy Selvage.

In Israel for most of the year, Gibsh owns a ceramic studio located near the port in an old district of Yaffa (Jaffa), overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.  His tile work is inspired by features of Yaffa’s old urban landscape; including the steeple of St. George’s Catholic Orthodox Church, clock towers, the lighthouse, Ottoman sabils (fountains) and other historic elements of the ancient port.  In his tiles Gibsh blends natural elements of the region: the water of the bay, palm trees, animals, and birds, with the historical features of the port. 

Sam GibshIn 2007, Gibsh was given a commission by the city of Tel Aviv to create a ceramic mural of 16 square meters to be installed on the outer wall of a new Christian-Muslim high school in Yaffe.  This new school brings back the old tradition of the Ottoman period when many Muslims were educated in Christian schools. In a slide show Gibsh gave at the Studio last summer he described his conception of the mural project as “A Voyage Through Yaffa.”  His training in engineering and construction proved useful.  He explained that the most demanding part of this project was the installation of the mural over the school’s external concrete wall’s surface. Gibsh, prompted by his engineering expertise, requested a careful testing of the wall for strength which did need to be reinforced before the mural could be safely installed.

~Maria Luisa Mansfield, excerpted from Tile Makers in vol 1. number 2, Fall 2008 of Sgraffito the Harvard Ceramics Programs newsletter

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Rosanna Bonnet

Rosanna Bonnet Tile

Rosanna Bonnet was born in Santo Domingo de Guzmán, the capital city of the Dominican Republic and the oldest continuously populated city in the New World. 

Bonnet began her artistic studies in architecture and later switched to graphic design, attending the Altos de Chavon School of Design in the Dominican Republic. She then attended the Royal Academy of Arts of the Hague for one year.  After several years spent back in the Dominican Republic organizing and running a business in serigraphy, she decided to move to the United States for political and economic reasons. 

In 2002 Bonnet worked in a small Medford, MA ceramic studio.  In the spring of 2004, she spent three weeks of intense work at the studio of Frank Giorgini, a ceramic-tile artist in upstate New York.   He recommended her to Nancy Selvage, and she took classes at the HCP Studio in July, 2004, soon becoming part of the staff.  In the fall of 2005, Bonnet began to travel and work in a number of studios including Giorgini’s in NY, a private studio in Geneva, Switzerland, the Tribecca Potters Studio in New York City, and finally as Artist in Residence at Altos de Chavon in the Dominican Republic. Bonnet returned to the HCP Studio this summer and presented a talk and slide show on her recent work. 

Rosanna BonnetThe beautiful old district of Santo Domingo de Guzman, with its Spanish colonial architecture, has been a source of inspiration for Bonnet’s artistic work.  Her favorite ceramics art form is tile, where she says she feels comfortable playing with its surface and creating murals. Her birthplace, with its turquoise waters, lush flora, and abundant sunlight, is reflected in the colors and patterns of her tiles.  Her work is infused with natural themes of orchids, sunflowers and vegetation motifs.   Her hope for the future is to work with architects or to form part of a team involved in interior design.

~Maria Luisa Mansfield, excerpted from Tile Makers in vol 1. number 2, Fall 2008 of Sgraffito the Harvard Ceramics Programs newsletter

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Wasmaa Chorbachi Tiles

Dr. Wasma’a Chorbachi, artist and expert in Islamic Art and History, bridges Mesopo­tamian and contemporary Western cultures. She was born in Cairo of Iraqi parents and lived in Baghdad during the early years of her life. “My earliest recollection of my love for clay and the excitement of firing a piece of clay goes back to when I was five years old. During promenades on the banks of the Tigris River, I discovered that these Meso­potamian clay deposits were the greatest toy. The making of the piece and the material transformation with its sense of magic, over­whelmed my imagination. After that, I often ‘played’ with clay and found that it brought me joy and peace of mind,” Chorbachi writes. Educated in the best Islamic, European and American traditions, she earned her Ph.D. from Harvard with a thesis on The Meet­ing of Science & Art in Islamic Civilization: Design in Islamic Architectural Decoration.

Chorbachi recently taught a course entitled “The Arabesque and Islamic Geometric Pattern Design” to M.I.T. archi­tecture students. She also teaches a practi­cal course at the HCP Studio on the structural rules of pattern formation, along with the fabrication of tiles and murals, low-fire tech­niques of decorating and glazing, and luster firing. Students are attracted to the topic of pattern forma­tion because it shows how the simplest design can be­come a complicated tapestry with only a few fixed moves of the design elements.

Chorbachi works in the Islamic calligraphic tradi­tion, primarily in clay, but also through painting on large pieces of silk. The central theme of Chorba­chi’s surface design is Ara­bic calligraphy, a prayer or a poem, which is surrounded by textural patterning. Inscription is the dominant feature of Chorbachi’s plates, tiles and murals in which the background is expressed in extraordinary textures, patterns and colors that refer to her ancestral land. These surrounding decorative areas remind us of the traditions of ancient Mesopotamia and the first attempts of humans to create a written and numerical system on clay tab­lets with an angled wooden stylus.

Wasma'a ChorbachiChorbachi’s work retells the an­cient Islamic story within a contem­porary context and holds its own side by side with its origins as can be seen in various exhibits and mu­seums throughout the world where her work is shown.  To see more of Wasma’a’s work, click here.

~Raquel Wharton Rohr excerpted from vol 1. number 3 Spring 2009 of Sgraffito, the Harvard Ceramics Program newsletter

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Flow Mural

The Harvard community is fortunate to have Nancy Selvage as the director of the ceramics program, a position she has held since 1978. During this time Selvage has produced a large body of public sculptural and mural work as well as other pieces shown in galleries and museums. She has also written articles and grant proposals, organized many scholarly and hands-on symposia, taught classes at the studio, and attended residencies and meetings in the field.

Selvage began her undergraduate studies at Wellesley College assuming a premed track. Fascinated by art history, she soon decided to pursue a career in art, ultimately earning an M.F.A. in Sculpture from Tufts University, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The sciences have, however, continued to wield a strong influence on her creative work, which she has successfully blended in her choice of subject and handling of the material.

One mark of her scientific approach is the meticulous research she does for each project, finding the most appropriate combinations of clays, glazes or other materials, and checking and testing every detail, every creature in a mural, every scientific formula or animal color and shape, every metal or method to be used, so that the finished product will please and endure.

In her impressive body of work, three major pieces stand out, representing her permanent public, ceramic art. In order by date of fabrication, the first is a ceramic tile mural, “Sonoran Snake”, a 50-foot-long rattlesnake whose skin is colorfully decorated with desert animals and plants. Created in 1993, it is attached to a wall leading to the entrance of the Sonora Desert Pavilion at the North Carolina Zoo at Asheboro, North Carolina.

The second is a group of ceramic pieces, created in 2000, for the Canyon View Information Plaza at the Grand Canyon. One part, “Canyon Rim”, is a 3D relief map model of 30 miles of the South Canyon, essentially replicating the topography of the rim area. It interfaces with a floor photo of the Canyon and orients visitors to the area. Another part, “Grand Canyon Camouflage”, consists of 30 low-relief sculptures of plants, animals and fossils that decorate the walls of the orientation building.

The third piece, “Flow”, constructed in 2005, is a ceramic tile mural located on the Science Building at Keene State College in Keene, N.H. It is in the shape of the local Ashuelot River and is a ‘river of scientific knowledge’ elaborately filled with symbols and images from all of the sciences.

In her artists statement she declares:

Nancy SelvageI have always been interested in the overlapping connections and associations between a functional object and the significance of its specific or broader context. A series of plates became embodiments of table manners; a table was inscribed with a litany of food blessings; some map vessels poured specific river systems; the Iraq vessel poured oil; “Wishing Well” pulled the gallery space into a vortex; “Nuclear Home” hovered between cohesion and fallout; a hearth endangered a hunt; one educational mural became a mythic snake ;another became a river of knowledge; a wall animated the streetscape and sheltered the plaza. Whether I start with a plate on a table or a wall in a plaza I work in response to the character and context of that private or public site, with the need to enhance awareness, transform experience, and discover new means of expression.

For images of Selvage’s sculpture click here.

~Suzanne Garen-Fazio, excerpted from vol. 1, number 1 Summer 2008 of Sgraffito, the Harvard Ceramics Program newsletter

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