Source Works’ ceramic & cement pieces are original creations involving mold making, slip casting in earthenware and casting in cement. I am involved in the whole process of creating my work and have been working as an artisan for over fifteen years. The inspiration for the work is ‘sourced’ from folkloric imagery and symbolism.
Slipcasting is a process that involves poring liquid clay - slip - into plaster molds. I make the original piece out of clay, then from that piece I will cast a plaster mold for slip, or make a rubber mold if I am going to be working with cement. The slip is poured into and out of the mold three or four times to build up the surface thickness. Then it is left to dry slightly and carefully de-molded one side at a time, then left to dry thorougly. The piece is then cleaned up of its registration marks, then fired in the kiln as greenware. It is glazed and fired again to finish the piece. I use earthenware slip, which is a low fire clay for the pieces. Sometimes I work with raku clay for some of my 'one off' pieces that I often fire in a wood fired kiln outside to create interesting effects from the fire and smoke. I also have done custom work that has involved making custom molds for a set of a dozen matching goblets and coffee mugs, as well as a funerary box, to a decorative plate for a wood stove.
About Melanie Earle
I have been drawing and painting since I was thirteen years old. Around that time I enrolled in a Saturday watercolour class and my instructor Judy Goodwin, an accomplished watercolourist herself, suggested to tutor me privately. This was the beginning of my exploration of artmaking as a means of expressing myself artistically.
I also attended summer drawing and painting workshops at the Banff School for the Arts, and it was there that my goals became clear, and I decided to pursue a post secondary education in art. I began my studies in Fine Arts at the University of Manitoba and then decided to move to Toronto after being accepted to The Ontario College of Art. It was here that I started to mature as an artist, exploring ideas through the visual arts.
While mostly painting and making sculpture, my work is inspired by dream imagery, symbolism, and spirituality. Always inspired by the natural world, I have over the years incorporated ‘natural imagery’ in an effort to express my vision.
After graduating from OCAD (Ontario College of Art & Design) in 1985, I helped found and become a member of an artists’ collective called “Republic”. I was involved in this group for around four years, showing and organizing shows in Toronto.
I have also worked in the commercial arts as a graphic artist and a colourist. For over fifteen years I have worked with my studio-run business – Sourceworks - creating unique ceramic molds for ceramic sculpture, vessels and jewelry, something that is in keeping with my artistic vision. As well I founded an artists group in 2008, called The Grey Highlands Artists Collective, GHAC, and more recently have begun working with wool, creating 'felted wall art' , which I call 'Silverfleece Designs". I find these different activities all inform eachother in the creative process.
Melanie Earle, AOCA, Sourceworks Ceramics