Why does good artists’ work seem inevitable? Call it a style, or a vision, but the art is often in the consistency of its expression. This is how we can recognise a student of Rembrandt from his treatment of light in a painting, or a follower of Ingres, from the way his line describes a contour in a drawing.
Salvatore Arancio is the artist whose wonderful works in glazed ceramic bring new meaning to the word BIOMORPHIC. So when Salvatore gives me and CA a personal clay lesson at Camden Arts Centre, I shouldn’t be surprised to find myself creating tuber-like shapes and forms. CA and I won this session with Salvatore at a fund -raiser for the Camden Arts Centre, and we discover for ourselves how strongly his approach is transmitted to us through the clay. CA and I think about our mutual southern origins – we fix on the idea of making cypress knees, those knobbly tree roots that emerge troll-like from the dark, boggy waters of South Carolina swamps. Under Salvatore’s generous tutelage, I can’t help but squeeze, mould, manipulate and smooth clay into shapes that are remarkably…root-like. With a few encouraging suggestions, Salvatore lets us get on with it after instructing us in the beating out of bubbles in a slab of clay, shaping coils, adding curves and bulges with wadded-up newspaper, and texture with cuts and divots in the surface. In a few weeks we will return to glaze our creations, under the direction of Dan who runs the studio at Camden. Can’t wait!