The Art of School
I added in a ceramics class and I'm very much looking forward to it. We were given a tour of the studio and that only served to increase my excitement. I got to work with classes long ago and I've always enjoyed it. I realize now that I've secretly longed to learn more about it. In dusting the house, I've discovered that I have quite a collection of ceramic pieces. The school has about ten different kilns for firing pieces. One of the outdoor kilns looks like a Gothic mausoleum and is a very primitive type of kiln. Many of the students are nervous about working with fire and high temperatures. I'm going to be cautious, but the word primal comes to mind. Clay brings together all the elements (earth, air, fire and water) in the process of making a piece.
We looked at slides at historic works in ceramics and contemporary ones as well. One of the slides that the instructor showed was of Moorish palace/fortress, Alhambra, in the south of Spain.
Ever since I first saw pictures of Alhambra, I knew I had to go there. I have a photograph in my dinning room of it and it is an inspiring place to behold.
My instructor said something that really struck me, "Alhambra was the coming together of two great ceramic cultures."
M.C. Esher reportedly visited Alhambra and was inspired by the tessellations of the tile work. The slide show reminded me of a mathematician friend who studies Islamic tiles. Muslim artists and mathematicians (they gave us Algebra) were way ahead of their time (and people like my friend have been working to uncover what they knew. Math and art frequently collide; a fact that I am beginning to see again and again.
|Tessellation close up at Alhambra|
It all comes back to math. The theme for my first year of art school has been symmetry and mathematics of beauty. Math has been tucked away into every class. In drawing and in art history I have learned about linear perspective. Photography has been about various compositional tools which are math based. Math is everywhere! So the next time you meet an artist, just know they are really mathematicians in disguise.
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