An old rusty bell, discarded spring coils, splintered wooden dowels; artist Joan Rasmussen has a knack for spotting these intriguing objects and giving them new life and meaning long after their original purpose for existing has long passed.
I met Joan at the SOFA expo awhile back where I was drawn to a display of whimsical doll figures displayed on a chalkboard wall filled with curious sayings. She combines the objects she finds with ceramic arms, legs and heads that she makes herself. I stopped to talk to her and she shared with me tidbits about her life as an artist:
- She first started out as a trained painter, then turned to ceramic arts 10 years ago. She spent five years learning the craft, including studying at Penland School of Crafts.
- Before she takes a "found object" home, she must first connect with it and be able to envision how it will be used in a new piece of artwork.
- She was once fired as a Girl Scout Troop Leader for turning a troop meeting into an art event (though the Scouts themeselves thought she was "the coolest leader ever").
- She says: "Collecting, gathering, and repurposing is a favorite pastime. It was therefore natural and predetermined that I would incorporate found objects with my interpretation of the figure."
- Although she is a ceramics artist now, she is still most comfortable with a painter's tools. She uses brushes instead of the traditional ceramic tools to sculpture her figures, snapping off the ends of the long brushes to make them easier to use.
To learn more about the work of Joan Rasmussen, visit her site at www.joanrasmussen.com