On Exhibit: VESSELS and HOUSES

On the 3rd floor landing, the DIA DE LOS MUERTOS exhibit is coming down to make room for HOUSES.  VESSELS will be featured on the 2nd floor landing.

VESSELS and HOUSES are exhibits of ceramic works made of paper clay.

You may have seen paper clay in your local arts and crafts store.  That paper clay is generally for air drying.  That’s all good, but the EC artists need a lot of material, so we can experiment.  We made our paper clay for firing in the kiln, from a combination of our regular firing clay and a cellulose paper product.  It was a job and a half to make, but Kristine, our Clay/Ceramic Arts Teacher, was on it!


VESSELS started as balloons dipped in paper clay slip.  It was a tedious process of dipping and drying… and dipping and drying… and dipping and—well you get the idea.  Layer by layer, day after day, the EC artists dipped and waited, until each dried paper clay vessel could hold its shape without the balloon.  Each artist then worked by hand over weeks to carefully add the details that would turn their dried, balloon-shaped clay into works of art.

151130_paperclay_HOUSES 02_web

HOUSES started as slabs of paper clay.  The artists first designed houses, and then made templates which would be used to cut the sides and roofs of their houses from the slabs—much like a gingerbread house is constructed from slabs of gingerbread. This was the most delicate home construction ever! Though light and strong once fired, the paper clay was delicate and broke easily (and often) during construction.

Both HOUSES and VESSELS will be on exhibit at the Multicultural Arts Center, 645 W. Main Street in Merced, December 4, 2015 – March 4, 2016.

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