Title: Moon Crescent
Year of Creation: 2004
Glaze: Salt fired with flashing slips
Clay Body: Stoneware
Dimensions: Height 27 inches, Width 9 inches
Artist's Statement: Peggy Papay's brushwork signifies Neolithic lunar symbols of rebirth and regeneration. Her inspiration is the decorative motifs and symbols in ceremonial objects recovered from shrines circa 5000 B.C.E. of old Europe (what is now Eastern Europe). She calls upon this rich vein of the worship of the feminine power to explore in the vessels the patterns and cycles of the seasons, death, and the return of life.
Using these universal symbols in creating my large vessels, I hope to evoke a feeling of re-connecting to nature's soul within each of us, Ms. Papay observes, a brief moment where we're bound to the biological rhythms of the plant and animals upon which our existence depends. The work evolved from her need to express affirmation of life and healing of the planet by creating sky symbols from the earth's minerals and elements. And the eternal phases of the moon, represented by the brushstrokes on the forms, teach us that the chaos of this time is ephemeral and will pass away. As Maria Gimbutas, the archeologist who excavated the shrines, wrote, the Moon Goddess was the giver of life and all that promotes fertility, and at the same time the wielder of destructive powers of nature.
The series of work is hand built, salt-fired stoneware vessels and platters enhanced with flashing slips. Phases of the moon created by brushed and layered slips produce decorative patterns and symbols which illustrate special quality of the heavens.
The use of handmade bamboo brushed creates textural stroke and depth, evident in the translucent pearlescent appearance of the fired slips. Hand building these forms replicates the ancient building techniques.
The work explores the high fire stoneware in salt and wood firing. Peggy prefers to use minimalist slips and glazes so that the fire can bring out the chthonic character and beauty of the clay. The elliptical shape of the vessels and platters incorporates a subtle moon phase symbol, and the broad body of each piece provides the canvas for her skilled brushwork.
The oval form invites touch as well as sight. The great success of each piece - when held, a direct and immediate connection is made between the holder/viewer and the ancients who worshipped the uncorrupted archetype so eclipsed by the modern world.
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