Sorry for the long pause between postings – have been traveling a lot and only back in the ceramics studio for a little over a week now- so will be posting some new stuff soon! In the meantime go check out the progress on the “worries” project on my website http://tamararafkin.com/work-in-progress/ and I’ll be helping install the ceramics group exhibition here in Aalst BE this week. If you are close by try and stop by the Acedemie voor Beeldende Kunsten Aalst to see the show ( opening vernissage Friday 11 October 2013 – 20:30)  and if you can’t make the opening the show will be ongoing until mid- November. Dates and Address on attached postcard invite!ImageImage


More River sections….

Okay seems I’m very behind in my ceramics postings here ( been busy over in my photography sites) but I have been busy creating work in the ceramics atelier as it is the end of a school year and I was quickly trying to wrap up a bunch of work before the atelier is closed for 2 months.

I’ve gotten through the building and colored clay application now of 4 of the 10 sections planned in the river piece I’m creating…each is at it’s longest point 60 cm ( that is the limit of the kiln I’m working with) and the last month or so of working has been a challenge. Temps have fluctuated wildly her in Belgium and some days things were drying too quickly- other days not quickly enough.

Finding that I keep making the sections more and more complicated, I’m determined to let the river slow down soon with less twists and turns – as it should mimic the nature of a river  leading out into a harbor (and that I’ve started with the harbor end where it is a bit more tempestuous) .

The photos are of the white clay body and the subsequent colored clay over layers….glazing will come later after all sections are done so they can be fired together.


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Work in progress – river relief

In preparation for the river relief work I’m doing for my end work for the ceramic program I’m in, color tests have been necessary…below are images of the building of the white clay body and color applications afterwards prior to glazing. This is test #2 and I’ll post photos of the final glazed piece soon…





work in progress

work in progress

Glaze test one for “rolling river”

work in progress

work in progress

new body of work – working title rolling river

hand building white clay

Why I began working with clay.

It may seem an odd thing, a photographer that has been working for years in her own media seemingly suddenly adding ceramics to her repertoire, but for me there have been many things that brought me to this point.

I have always been an artist first, way before I found that with a camera I could develop a language that worked for me. In the beginning of my career as an artist I also worked in mixed media- picking up charcoal, oil paint, metal leaf, pastel and photographic images to make pieces – as well as making assemblage works from found objects. While these works were never made as frequently as my photographic work they always fulfilled a need for communication, inspiration and creation.

Then I moved – this move was to NYC which left me in a smaller space, without a studio where I could leave these creations in various states to dry, breathe and take on the life they needed. NYC also focused me on my photographic works – out shooting the images or in a rental darkroom creating the prints but as I got more and more clear on my photographic vision photography also went under a change. It became less and less about physicality more and more about working within the framework of a computer screen – which left a part of me unbalanced.

So, after another huge move in my life – this time across an ocean, to a new land, I decided to finally embark upon learning ceramics. It is something I’ve always thought about doing not as a replacement to my photography but as an addition, and maybe in the future I will find a way to bring the two together as I did earlier in my mixed media and assemblage work. It gives me the balance I’ve been missing by too many hours working with images on the computer and allows me to literally get grounded in the dirt.





“On the Half Shell” marbled body

These “On the Half Shell” pieces are very tactile – smooth in the hand and of a size that fits gently into your palm.