Holding On To Heather Allen Hietala

Mixed Media
30 × 39 × 4 inches
76.2 × 99.1 × 10.2 cm
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Beautiful clay and glass wall sculpture by the talented American sculptor, Heather Allen Hietala. Her exploration of the metaphor of the vessel is mesmerizing in person - the pooled glass creates a refraction of light that is difficult to capture in the photographs. The text continues on both sides of the "paddles." "The vessel is a metaphor of interior and exterior, of containment, of transport and journey. It is both universal and personal. A vessel can symbolize self. The vessel in all its many forms is my muse. Once a piece is begun, it takes on a life or story of it’s own. As I respond to the process and materials, a dialogue develops between the piece, the material, and me. The vessel allows me a vehicle to investigate new ideas, materials, narratives and relationships. Words are written to record or retain, to express and communicate. Words express and contain the emotional intention of the writer. Written words are beautiful and become a visual pattern. Since a child I have kept journals, and written on the surfaces in my life and on my art. In "Holding on to..." I explore the vessel and the idea that words record our memories, dreams and subconscious. I love words and the act of writing or in this case physically inscribing. "Holding on to...." was inspired by my Dad's Alzheimer's. He had a little black book that he carried religiously, in it he wrote down everything, it was his way of keeping track of reality. The buttery surface of the Helios porcelain allows me to write easily. Inspired by intergenerational relationships, I inscribed words, stories, memories all over the surfaces of the vessels and paddle blades. Areas of words were covered with shellac to preserve them and then the unprotected areas were washed with water and a sponge, gently washing away the words and what they meant. Subsequent layers of shellac and washing create a surface where there are areas where the words are washed away and areas still very real and readable. Bluish grey oxides bring the words to life and create a calming palette. The surface is meant to evoke that sense of how memories come and go, fade in and out over time. The way light is captured by the glass inside the vessels alludes to the sparkle of the spirit inside all of us." – Heather Allen Hietala

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