Carolyn BaginskiColumbus, Ohio

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

Carolyn originally comes from Akron, Ohio, but she now calls Columbus home.  She has a B.F.A. in Art History and Ceramics from Ohio University and earned her M.F.A. in Art from The Ohio State University.  In addition to teaching at The Ohio State University and Otterbein College, she has worked at studios across the country including the Women’s Studio Workshop, Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts, Haystack Mountain School of Craft, Red Lodge Clay Center and Vermont Studio Center.  Nature and a love of ceramic history are the main influence in her work.  She explores ideas of memory, perception, landscape and folklore through figurines and installation. Currently Carolyn has found her niche teaching elementary school art and creating new work in her home studio.

The glimmer of reflected sunlight seen from the corner of my eye transports me to a mountainside. Standing amid a field of alpine wildflowers delivers me to my childhood bedroom, bathed in floral patterning. I am all three places at once. Despite my best efforts, my mind cannot be restrained by my physical location. The decorative becomes a destination as objects become places. There is no distinction between daydream and reality.

In my sculptures I piece together multiple versions and views of reality simultaneously. Each piece is a part of a larger visual catalogue that records and investigates my experience of the world. Sometimes the images are more like dreams than factual accounts. Stories are altered and embellished to read like a memoir. Space is stretched, substituted, morphed and abbreviated. Perspectives continuously shift and as a result, scale changes throughout the pieces. There is something familiar in the work, but the pieces are arranged in an illogical manner. I use color, detail, scale and decoration to direct focus and obscure the seams between different perceptions. Working within the conventions of the figurine, each piece is both object and narrative and fluctuates between exquisite and kitsch. Rather than representing nature, sculpted flowers and pattern reinforce the presence of simulacrum within my work.  The multiple is important in terms of deciding how much of something is needed for my illusions to become impenetrable as I work to make the inauthentic into truth.

Each of my pieces is handbuilt using porcelain and glazed in several layers, often in several firing. The material is important because of its relationship to the historical ceramic objects I reference in my work. I am specifically looking at Meissen and Staffordshire figurines. To build each form, I use a mixture of techniques. The forms are coil built and then embellished using dozens, if not hundreds of hand pinched flowers. The animals are created through a mix of pinching and carving. For the surfaces I use a mixture of commercial glazes and glazes I have developed myself to achieve the desired mix of campy and refined. I treat them like watercolor as I apply them, in some areas making them very precise, while in others, letting them drip and flow. Each piece is electric fired, often multiple times, to cone 6.