Spring 2009

Flower Vase

This spring my concentrations at the Kansas City Art Institute were focused on learning both throwing and mold making.

In my thrown work I rediscovered my passion for functional pieces. Most of these pieces are influenced by Chinese celedon ware, as well as scroll paintings and woodblock prints from Japan, China, and Korea. I chose these influences because I feel that the way these cultures represent nature lends itself to the forms I chose to work with and the idea of finding beauty in nature.

Bird Vase (front)

Bird Vase (back)

Flower Jar

Landscape Jar

Turtle Jar


Slip casting began by creating a cup and saucer. These peices were slip cast in porcelain from a single basic cup and saucer form. Each piece was then altered to reference the different views of Mt. Fuji portrayed in the woodblock print series by Katsushika Hokusai. My focus was to create a changing landscape that reflects the power and beauty of nature through use of the multiple.


The “linear element” piece was one that allowed me to learn how to cast a found object and use the mold making process to create a piece that reflected my own interests. The bones were cast in terra cotta and then raku fired with no glazes. The piece is about three feet long, and a foot wide. As an installation, it hangs suspended from the ceiling by sinew that is tied to each bone. Below is the artist’s statement for this particular piece.

Ariel Bowman
Spring 2009

Natural Selection was originally a Darwinian idea proposed as an integral part of evolution. It is based on the development of certain traits in a species that increase with each generation and allow greater reproduction and survival.
I have interpreted that idea into the bones that I cast as my linear element. My goal was to create an animal that was based in the ideas of natural selection, one that could be changed at will through rearrangement. Therefore, if the environment that the animal is presented in changes, so do the characteristics of the piece. In this way, the animal becomes alive, changing and responding to its surroundings in order to survive. I used the multiple to create many bones, each of which could be cut and altered into the appearance of something else. My main focus was the rib bone, which when hung together, create the ribcage, and the main body of the animal. After that, different jaw bones allowed me to leave small teeth, or add large canines, in order to accentuate the combination of predator and prey. The smoked effect on the bone color acts as a change in outer appearance, and a method of camouflage. Sinew then holds the bones in place, and is the method for changing them.
The decision to hang the piece was due to the intention of intimidating the viewer. When the idea of Natural Selection was first introduced in the 19th century, it caused a major disruption in society. Natural Selection challenges the longstanding exalted place that humans hold themselves in, and the ideas that we are the chosen invincible species. The idea itself suggests that we are not creatures under the protection of God, who’s decisions are reflected in nature. On the contrary, it puts us back onto the evolutionary ladder, with the same chances as every other species.
The notion has as strong of an impact today as it did in the 19th century. The work itself is meant to prey on this impact and enhance it, making the viewer self aware, causing them to feel like an inferior species.

About Ariel Bowman

I grew up in Dallas, Texas where I learned to love nature, animals, and art. I graduated with a BFA in ceramics from the Kansas City Art Institute in 2011. I am currently working towards my MFA in ceramics at the University of Florida. This blog serves as a way for my friends and family, as well as anyone interested in my work, to view not only the finished pieces, but some of the process as well. You can subscribe to this blog to keep up to date on what I am currently working on in the studio, research, new sources, and exhibitions.
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3 Responses to Spring 2009

  1. Ada says:

    do you think that humans are an inferior species? or maybe just that we’re just on par with all the rest of the species?

  2. Matt Katz says:

    I wanted to let you know that I am collecting a master list of ceramics blogs, over at my blog (you can get to it through my profile. I added yours to the list, but if you get a chance, check it out and let me know if I missed any you know.
    Matt Katz

    • arielbowman says:

      Hi Matt!
      Thank you so much for adding me to your list, I am glad to know that new people will get a chance to look at my blog.
      I loved the way your blog was set up, and I recognized a lot of names. There are definitely some other students and recent alumni from Kansas City Art Institute Ceramics that would be interested in joining up with your site!
      Ariel Bowman

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