Thursday, 4 March 2010

ESTONIAN WEDDING ANNIVERSARYceramics winter and spring 2010

In January and Febuary 2010 I worked in the ceramics studio in Meestre Hoov (the masters court) in Tallinn. I spent most of my time working on an epic sculpture of an Estonian dinner. I took the original sketches at Triin's grandfathers 50th wedding anniversary dinner in the summer 2009. There were a few neighbours with some singing and musical instruments and lots of drinks and a solid feast. I did not enclude all the characters... in all there were about 15 people at the party but I tried to get the general atmosphere of festivities a la Estonie!

The lady and the fella standing up are Triin's grandparents. Her grandad was firing on all cylinders and after we left the party they both went for a lie down in the early afternoon from all the excitement. Her grandma is a lovely soft stoic lady who is going a bit blind.

Below Original sketch of Vuints the moustache

This is my original sketch of Vuints (moustache). He played hot
accordian and was named after his sharp tash. Below is the result in clay.

There was a fair bit of Vodka as there must be at any serious party in Eastern Europe it seems. This neighbour was merrilly toasting. Generally the atmosphere was quite reserved despite the roudy behaviour of Triin's grandfather.

Behind this gentleman I had a bit of wall space so I put two paintings up. The one on the right is a country scene similar to something you may find in an Estonian flat, but which I took from the 10 Kroon note.
The other smaller portrait is Paul Keres. I dont think you would find this in any Estonian flat appart from his relatives. They are not very into hero worship it seems. Keres was one of the Soviet Unions top chess players. A grand master who narrowly missed being world champion. He is perhaps one of Estonia's most famous international figures and the only chess player in the world to appear on the national currency!

This is Triins dad enjoying his cup of tea. He is a big guy who works for a security firm but very friendly underneith. Behind him you can see the street and trees and the flat skyline with a few more Communist blocks scattered around. The party took place in a typical Soviet suburb called Mustamae which translates as black hill. That is probably not a natural feature of the landscape, estonia has very few hills, probably some industrial slag heap! But I am only guessing!

This is another neighbour enjoying her meal! The food was very simple and tasty - I could not eat the sausages and eggs and many creamy cakes but settled for tomatoes, black bread, pickled gerkins and boiled potatoes.

This is the left half of the scene. It had to be cut into two parts to fit into the kiln.

And this is the right half with the view out into the street.

I have been working a few days a week at a ceramic studio in the old town of tallinn, estonia. I have to greet customers and open the shop and be around to sell the artwork of a collective of around 15 ceramicists and for that i get free use of the atelier. actually, i get to work quite a lot because febuary is not a very busy month for tourists or visitors to the shop. I have been working on a few projects. This first big scene is about 40 centimeters long and made in white clay. It is inspired by a carving of some sweedish law court i saw in the stockholm art museum in july 2009. It is based on some sketched i did during Triins grandparents 50th wedding anniversary in their soviet style flat in tallinn in summer 2009. I tried to carve the scene but it is much easier to make out of clay... mistakes can be corrected with clay. I have not yet glazed it but if you have any suggestions for glaze please tell me soon!

Initial shaping of the figures

The finished product, painted in April 2010 with gouache

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