Louis and Christine Colombarini
There aren’t many days we don’t wander outside our rural Middle Tennessee home to marvel at the majestic rolling hills and the beauty of the wildlife that surrounds us at Cosmic Clay Studio. As we work in our home studio overlooking a lush and expansive valley, the company of resident cats and dogs keeps us grounded in Mother Earth.
Although a life-long romance with clay is the basis of our artwork, we find a foundation of ideas from a fascination with Greek, Roman, and pre-Colombian art history. From those concepts, we try to incorporate themes of mystical imagery, curious symbols, and lyrical patterns. Clay awakens our creative intellect, but we also enjoy the physical challenge. Using our hands work with a part of the Earth helps connect with the tangible with the spirtitual. These elements collectively help fuel our imagination and inspire us to create expressive works of art.
Clay Art Process
Primitive Straw-Fired Clayworks
Our clay vessels and sculptural forms originate through a hand-built, slip cast or wheel-thrown process sometimes using a combination of two or all three techniques. We often alter the clay be incising the original shape, carving the surface in relief or constructing intricate forms using various clay components.
In a bone-dry state, the clay is bisque-fired at cone 08-06 and again primitive pit-fired using straw and sawdust. This firing method gives our work the distinctive grass patters, fire clouds and rich sepia tones. We then hand-color each work with its own unique design using metallic paints, oil sticks, acrylics and textured powdered marble. Upon completion, we “fix” the delicate surface with a satin acrylic spray to protect the finish.
Primitive Pit-Fired Copper Wash
After 25 years of firing Raku vessels, we began to experiment in primitive pit-fireing. Most recently we’ve developed a wonderful copper surface which reveals striking colors and spontaneous fire cloud patters when buried in smoldering sawdust. The end result of this primitive fired method imparts every vessel with a uniquely resplendent finish — impossible to duplicate – and highly collectable.