The Ludington Area Center for the Arts will host a virtual exhibit for Oceana County artist Karen Clark Antrim's ceramic pottery and sculpture. Antrim's artwork was scheduled to be on display in LACA's Main Gallery during the month of May along with fellow artist Lynne Haslam. However, due to concerns of the COVID-19 outbreak the art center was no longer able to host the exhibit. Antrim's 'Sculpted Variations' exhibit can be viewed online at www.ludingtonartscenter.org or on the center's Facebook page. Artwork featured in the virtual exhibit is available for purchase in LACA's online store (click here).
Antrim has been potting and sculpting clay for the last 30 years. "I am equally challenged and gratified by the hand building process involved in the creation of ceramic pottery and sculpture. Hand building clay pieces allows me to translate my artistic vision into my three-dimensional sculptural creation in clay," Antrim said. During the last twenty years Antrim has been sculpting animals, and of late, horses and ponies of all shapes, sizes and personalities. "They have been created because I have a fondness, admiration and fascination for these great animals. Each horse enjoys an elevated status, and reveals a multiplicity of traits, rooted in historical tradition, realistic interpretation, and imagination." "Depending on the type and character of each horse created, I decide which type of clay and firing technique will best suit the animal. I use red earthenware, porcelain, stoneware and raku clay bodies. The clay is coiled for the horse’s body and the legs are either slabbed or pinched by hand until the horse assumes the appropriate position. I continue to sculpt the horse until the true equine spirit emerges." Each large horse requires about forty hours to create. After the horse is built the burnishing process occurs. The surface of the clay is polished with a smooth stone at the leather-hard state until shiny. The sculpted horse is dried, fired, and then glazed. Firing techniques vary with the desired artistic outcomes. Red earthenware horses are fired in a sawdust reduction kiln. Porcelain horses are fired using either horsehair, raku or saggar firing techniques. Stoneware is fired using an oxidation kiln. And raku clay is fired in either a pit or in a raku kiln. On occasion, one of the ponies may be damaged during the firing process, and in such case, acrylic paint, a little glue and a warm heart may be used to reconstruct these “rescued Ponies.” Horsehair is usually applied for the mane and tail after the firing is completed. Each horse offers a special challenge, a new adventure, and is indeed one of a kind. "In a new effort to beautify my gardens, I have developed raku fired flower stacks and other raku fired clay ornaments. The stacks are adorned using a raku glaze in which the colors range from a brilliant turquoise to metallic copper colors. I too have developed landscape bas relief wall plaques which are also fired in a raku kiln. The use of a white crackle glaze and specific stains and oxides enhance the three dimensional effects of each wall plaque."