2008 brought me to the West Coast and back to ceramics. I am still enthralled with the physicality, the immediacy and the spontaneity of both clay and the raku firing process.
After careful study with her father, Artist Melvyn Malkin, Anna began creating the MalkinRaku Sheep in 2008. As part of her adventurous move from Toronto to Victoria, BC, the raku studio was established on Hornby Island (one of the northern Gulf Islands). Photos and a short video of the raku firing process and of the studio are viewable at: www.malkinraku.com.
In my video work I have the painstaking luxury of seeing every detail repetitively, tweaking as I go. I allow myself the indulgence of technicalities while devising a visceral viewing experience. I start with a cacophony of motion, a muddle of sound. I eventually find its heart and reveal its rhythm. So many ideas, images, words and thoughts, get untangled in the process -- unraveled then woven together in a deliberate and seemingly serendipitous style.
With the sheep the intent is much simpler—it’s a bit of a one liner really. Sheep are herd animals; they look and act alike, and will blindly follow. I make representational sheep repetitively. I make sheep repetitively, like a meditation; I concentrate on the form, the expression, and the character of each one. They’re snowflakes man. Once fired, they rise from the ashes fully formed, in the gold glitter, crackle and deep black that only raku can bring. Equipped with attitude and curiosity they question their flock mates, their audience, their environment.
I’m thrilled when people see past the herd mentality to recognize their individual, inquisitive nature.