Lisa Merida-Paytes

Freezer Fish on Mica
raku, mica

From the first time I picked up a handful of clay, I have been intrigued in combining clay’s intrinsic properties with aesthetic form – asking myself essentially how can I work with a material that has such a wide range of technical information to digest and still create interesting forms that contain my artistic interpretations. Therefore, I have centered my artwork around material, process, design and self-expression. When I search for sources of inspiration that hold the same integration of method and form, I am always drawn to nature’s instinctive procedures, formations and energy.

Months of experimentation with clay’s inherent qualities has moved my artwork in a new and exciting direction. My work continues to focus on the integration of fulfilling material needs and communicating my feelings. Specifically, I am using the materials inside plaster molds that are made specifically for each piece. The strong contrast of process begins to work cohesively because I control the materials in the molds, which not only act as the support systems but also as the particular shapes for each sculpture. This way of working allows me to manipulate the handbuilt areas against the slip covered shapes for a greater length of time. I can design each piece without the clay dictating or compromising my aesthetic principles.

Within my current series, I feel I have just begun to explore the possibilities of clay. In the future, I envision my work continuing to investigate these materials, processes and concepts. I want to further introduce and experiment with aspects of natural coloration and the applications of color. I hope to achieve extremely rich surface textures and beautiful coloration of stains by layering different hues of clay, clay slip and water pours and drips mixed with oxides.

© Lisa Merida-Paytes