AN ARTIST’S STORY – by Paul Woodward, Ceramic Sculptor of “Ceramic Coral Creations”
Sculpting is my artistic passion. During the 1990’s, The Fine Arts Department of Saddleback Community College was where I developed my talents through a variety of art courses. My learning experiences are widely varied: Sculpting, Drawing, Painting – primarily portraits and\figures in clay, cast in Bronze. Most classes were for my own enjoyment – not for credits. I became completely absorbed in awakening my creativity. Mostly self-taught, I had a small studio, worked on sculpting live models, participated in some shows and exhibits. Recently, I’ve been working at a studio near my home in Laguna Woods (eight years), taking sculpting classes.
When I began creating ceramic “Blue Coral,” my brother, Robbie (retired interior decorator,
fine art dealer), encouraged me too build a body of work and locate a gallery to present my
ceramic coral creations. I began feeling real individual creativity three years ago. Essentially,
I had become my own mentor, self-taught – after mostly failing, starting over, always doing
better. My ceramic coral creations begin by playing with a 3-5 pound ball of clay. Working
the clay, gradually, I experience forming beautiful, organic, life-like coral shapes. Every one
is unique, one of a kind “living coral” from my imagination. Illusions of beautiful, living forms,
like coral from deep ancient seas result from a day of play with a ball a clay. After much
patient care, finishing, firing, glazing my coral comes ALIVE!
Each coral piece never seems complete – but, at a certain stage, when I know my work is
finished, it’s time to let time do its work on the clay – in a few days its completely dried. The
first firing adds tinsel strength. The second firing, after glaze is added, is always unpredictable –
mostly very exciting, pleasant surprises. I am always amazed with the fascinating results.
High firing at 2,330 F causes molten glass (glaze) to “marry” the fired clay for eternity,
adding strength, weight, thickness plus colors beyond imagination.
My sculptor’s passion becomes real, as the sculpture seems to come ALIVE! It seems my
inner spirit connects with the medium from inside out. When sculpture comes ALIVE, I
sense my creation is in motion, living. That is a universal appeal, when observers of my
art imagine my clay creations appear to be ALIVE. The creation becomes The Creator’s
living expression or Beauty.