Baba Yaga

 

Baba Yaga is both feared and endeared in Slavic cultures. Depending on the circumstances, this hideous all powerful witch can end up either eating or helping a traveler that wanders near her chicken legged hut. Baba Yaga travels through the forest in a flying mortar with a pestle in one hand, and a broom in the other with which she sweeps away her traces. Western pop cultural references to Baba Yaga are typically in the context of a Russian folkloric boogeyman (John Wick, Ant-Man and the Wasp, etc.). I designed my version of Baba Yaga based heavily on Ivan Bilibin's illustration in the classic Russian folktale, "Vasilisa the Beautiful" published in 1874, as it conveyed the most verisimilitude - a key characteristic I try to instill in all my work. I also would like to thank and dedicate this piece to all my Russian friends on Instagram for inspiring me to explore the rich world of Russian folklore. My thanks again to the Ceramic Art Studio and Shop.

 

Baba Yaga

 

Baba Yaga

 

Baba Yaga

 

Baba Yaga

Baba Yaga frequently bears the epithet "bony leg" (Baba Iaga kostianaia noga).

 

Baba Yaga

 

Baba Yaga

 

Baba Yaga

 

Baba Yaga

 

Baba Yaga

Wet clay model

Osumosan

 

The Japanese sport of sumo wrestling originated as a Shinto ritual and evolved during the mid 16th century into the form the world is familiar with today. The imposing physique of a sumosan, in addition to the traditional hair style, is quite distinctive and unique to that sport alone - there is no mistaking a sumo wrestler from other athletes! And while there are no weight classifications (and therefore no limits) in Japanese sumo, the mass differential is not always a deciding factor in a bout. Speed, balance, and strategy are also key elements that make the contests so fascinating to watch. My thanks again to the Ceramic Art Studio and Shop.

 

Osumosan

 

Osumosan

 

Osumosan

 

Osumosan

 

Osumosan

 

Osumosan

 

Osumosan

Wet clay model

 Ixchel Mayan Goddess

 

Ixchel is the Mayan goddess of midwifery, fertility, and medicine. The ancient Maya were a highly advanced civilization, particularly in their understanding of the solar system and mathematics. I've always wanted to sculpt a Mesoamerican deity but found the depictions, most of which are based on Spanish codices, very difficult to interpret visually. After some research, I chose Ixchel to sculpt as her iconography is fairly consistent: snake atop her head, sometimes pouring water, and sometimes depicted as a young or old woman. As an added homage to this beautiful Mayan goddess, I based her facial features on stock images of actual women from the Yucatan peninsula (the hub of the ancient Mayan civilization). Incidentally, I later learned through an Instagram colleague that one of the sculptures that I had used as reference is located in Isla Mujeres (The Island of Women) in Mexico. There is even a temple dedicated to her there (Templo De La Diosa Ixchel) which I hope to visit someday. My thanks again to the Ceramic Art Studio and Shop.

 

Ixchel Mayan Goddess

 

Ixchel Mayan Goddess

 

Ixchel Mayan Goddess

 

Ixchel Mayan Goddess

 

Ixchel Mayan Goddess

 

Ixchel Mayan Goddess

 

Ixchel Mayan Goddess

 

Ixchel Mayan Goddess

 

Ixchel Mayan Goddess

 

Ixchel Mayan Goddess

Wet clay model (greenware)

Santa Claus

 

The modern day persona of Santa Claus is an amalgamation of the much older English tradition of Father Christmas and various historical and legendary figures including Saint Nicholas (Bishop of Myra), Odin, and other European folklore. Many countries also share similar traditions of a benevolent elderly figure that gives presents to children on a special day: Ded Moroz (Russia), Joulupukki (Finland), and even Amu Nowruz (Iran). In sculpting my version of this holiday legend, I decided on a more realistic take on Father Christmas with less belly fat and a tamer beard compared to the commercialized image of Santa. His gift sack serves as a candy bowl, just the right size for some Hershey's Kisses. My thanks again to the Ceramic Art Studio and Shop for helping me get this ready in time for Christmas 2018.

 

Santa Claus

 

Santa Claus

 

Santa Claus

 

Santa Claus

 

Santa Claus

 

Santa Claus

 

Santa Claus

 

Santa Claus

 

Santa Claus

Wet clay model

Pallas Athena

 

Athena is the Greek goddess of wisdom, handicraft, and warfare, and often referred to as Pallas Athena. Both her and her Roman counterpart Minerva are typically portrayed with a spear, a Gorgoneion in the form of a shield with Medusa's head, and a helmet resting atop her head. Occasionally Athena is shown wielding a sword, which also happens to be more ceramic friendly than a spear. I had originally considered sculpting Wonder Woman in battle gear but realized that aside from the tiara, Diana of Themyscira and Athena with a sword are pretty much the same thematically. Similar to my Victory of Samothrace, I decided to use a light acrylic wash instead of ceramic glaze to emulate an aged patina on ancient marble look. My thanks again to the Ceramic Art Studio and Shop.

 

Pallas Athena

 

Pallas Athena

 

Pallas Athena

 

Pallas Athena

 

Pallas Athena

 

Pallas Athena

 

Pallas Athena

 

Pallas Athena

 

Pallas Athena

Wet clay model