Nature’s Trek, Neriage and Nerikomi Explorations
“An artist’s work is this slow trek to rediscover, through the details of art, those two or three great and simple images in whose presence the heart first opened,” writes Albert Camus. I believe this artistic journey can be used to reflect, as well as discover and transform, our connection to the natural world. Markings on a bird’s feathers evolved to attract and protect. Growth rings in a tree or on a common seashell chronicle life experience and resilience. The deeper the roots, the stronger the tree. I am inspired by what appears, on the surface, to be insignificant, fragile, or perhaps unseen, but which endures and will teach us–if we are willing to learn. Clay wonderfully expresses these ideas.
For twenty years I have used hand-building (nerikomi) and wheel-throwing (neriage) in my artwork. To reference nature’s patterns, I use clays of contrasting colors and textures, scraping away the top layer of the completed piece to reveal images created by the combined clay bodies. Though labor-intensive, this process provides a surprising and compelling discovery. Each piece is-sanded between firings and hand polished when completed. Outward surfaces of the form reveal rather than hide what it contains. Although the finished pieces may seem fragile, this fragility does not inhibit the vision of what the eye sees or what the hands hold–it only enriches it.
Nancy’s exhibit would have been on display at Brookside Museum in Ballston Spa, NY for the month of September. Due to Covid-19 concerns, Brookside Museum will not be open to the public for the time being. Please enjoy this virtual adaptation of her exhibit.