Fish On!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

I attended a neat community workshop on Saturday. I found out about it through my friend Sandy and she invited some other folks, so there was a little group of 8 of us that met at the workshop. The "create a fish" workshop was free and sponsored by the Auburn Recreation District; all materials were supplied, we only had to show up with some creative ideas. It was scheduled from 10 - 4 with the idea that folks just stop in, make a fish or two and leave.

Priscilla's creations, one of the templates, and the remainder of a slab.So here's what it was all about:
There's a sign to be installed at a local park (Overlook Park) and the ceramic fish created by those of us that attended the workshop will be attached to the sign. Virginia Dains, a local ceramic artist coordinated the workshop and was assisted by a number of other local ceramic artists - including Gerda Francesca and Leona Reber. We were each given a slab of clay (precut to the proper thickness to survive the firing process), 2 different fish templates to get us started and some rudimentary - but perfectly functional - tools (long wooden skewers and popsicle sticks) for working with the clay. The fish templates were a trout and a leaping salmon - very appropriate since they inhabit the river (the Clockwise from top left: Sandy's bluegill, Paul's goldfish cracker (look closely - it's very, small), my salmon and my flounderAmerican River) near which the sign will be installed.

So, like good little students we cut out our fish shapes with the skewers and proceeded to embellish them. I added a couple of fins to mine (because I get hung up on detail and wanted my fish to be somewhat accurate) and then I etched some details and designs into the surface with the pointy end of the skewer. Sandy had brought her own fish book and decided to dispense with the template and create her fish from scratch - she made a nifty bluegill. With the scraps left over from my first fish, I decided to make a Paul's school of fishflounder - 'cause they're just so weird with both their eyes on the same side of their body. Sandy also made a sardine. Paul, another member of our group, was very creative and made 5 different fish (there were plenty of spare clay slabs) - some of them tropical species and even a teeny goldfish cracker fish. His friend Todd made a lovely fancy goldfish - flowy tail and all. Our little group must have created at least a dozen fish. Needless to say, we had a great time at the workshop.Todd's fancy goldfish

Judging by the nearly 100 finished fish that were laid out on the tables when we were finished (with 2 hours left to go), many locals had stopped by the workshop to expend some creative energy. The next step is for Virginia and her trusty assistants to glaze the fish in various colors, depending on Two nice young ladies were a part of our group - these are their they'll fit into the sign design. Then she'll create a Some of the members of our schoolmosaic from all the glazed fishies, affix them to a base and grout in between. She'll also be using some bubble shapes to fill the "in-between" spots.

An artists' reception for the fish artisans will take place sometime during the American River Confluence Festival on Sunday, June 10th.


Sandy January 22, 2007 at 4:14 PM  

Nice write-up for a very fun event. I can hardly wait to see the final mosaic!

Virginia Dains January 24, 2007 at 12:58 PM  

Hello Ann,
It was great for you and your friends to come make fish for the Overlook Sign Project. You saw the works of all the talented volunteer fish-makers, its going to be great fun putting this project together.
Save the date: June 10th, for the Artist's Reception.
Regards, Virginia

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