My new shipment of clay came in, and I was soon quite busy with all sorts of new creations. I'm working with a natural air-hardening clay that contains minerals and natural cellulose fibers that harden my pieces strongly and naturally without kiln firing. It's a beautiful non-toxic clay that comes from the coast of Spain. Into the wet clay body, I'm mixing Dutch artist pigments ground by a windmill here in Holland, the Verfmolen de Kat. I've put the pigments into old medicine bottles, and their colors bring a sort of rich, earthy vibrance to my atelier. I adore the work of mixing them by hand, in the tradition of the Dutch Masters like Vermeer and Rembrandt. Young Rembrandt lived just a few steps from my door.
I've created several groupings now of clay art objects, all representations of European residential architecture. The forms are extremely simple, yet recall enough character of their inspirations to be quite recognizable.
The repetition of vertical Dutch canal houses in a row of earthy ochres and terra cottas, the stoney textures of white farmhouses on the French countryside, The shiny green enamel on the charming cottages of Zaanse Schans, Holland, and the beautifully raw but vibrant pastel surfaces of the houses built on the jutting cliffs of Italy's Cinque Terre all call to mind the familiar scenes of home in Europe.