Carolyn Baginski – Red Lodge Clay Center

Carolyn BaginskiColumbus, Ohio

Red Lodge Clay Center Long-Term Resident 2009-10, Short-Term Resident (AIA) 2012

Carolyn is originally from Akron, Ohio. She graduated from Ohio University in 2008 with a B.F.A. in Art History and Ceramics. Carolyn spent the last year working at the Women’s Studio Workshop in Rosendale, NY where she assisted numerous artists with printmaking and ceramic projects. This summer she was a Juried Kiln God Residency recipient at Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts. Carolyn was very excited to be living in Red Lodge and to be a year-long resident at Red Lodge Clay Center. She was even more excited about the snow! Now she is pursuing her MFA at OSU.

I have always made the association that ceramic was for viewing, not for using. Our china was always displayed on shelves, figurines always behind glass, and everything belonged in the living room, away from small hands. To me, these objects represent an idea of potential, yet unrealized, utility. This is why I use clay: to explore the line where functional objects cease to be used and why. What do these objects represent after sacrificing their essential purpose.

I am especially interested in this idea with regard to the home. As we furnish our homes, what role do the objects within it play? What about the motifs and patterns used to decorate these objects? They exist because they convey a message about the desired atmosphere of our homes. We want our homes to feel warm and welcoming, safe and comforting. Whether this atmosphere is realistic or not, we display what we want to believe as truth. After all, seeing is believing, whether this means we see the truth or live blissfully unaware.

Phrases such as “Home Sweet Home” tell us that the home is supposed to be a tranquil, idyllic place. Children’s fairytales reinforce this conception through the inclusion of friendly woodland creatures who somehow manage to bring warmth and beauty to the strangest locations, making the heroine feel safe and loved. Contemporary home decor follows this same path, taking a significant amount of its imagery from nature. The natural world has traditionally been viewed as more innocent and pure than the manmade. As a result, the introduction of the outdoors to the indoor seems to signify a lifestyle that we equate with our storybook notions of home.

Homes are also associated with the idea of femininity. Like the idealized nature, the role of the feminine is traditionally seen as innocent and submissive. I see the feminine as becoming a source of protection or defense. Superficially, it seems easily overpowered. However, by taking control of its own sweetness, femininity can gain an unexpected strength. It can also become a tool for clever disguise.

As the world changes and becomes more and more developed, we lose touch with the realities of nature. Instead, the superficial representations we surround ourselves with begin to take its place. What do these illustrations mean as they replace their subject? My goal is to explore the realities we create for ourselves and to question whether things are as perfect as they seem. After all, even in fairytales, there is always a big bad wolf.