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Luce Foundation Center for American Art

Craft: Clay: Bearded Iris-Cobalt
Bearded Iris-Cobalt


Bearded Iris-Cobalt
1996
Mary Carroll
polychrome-glazed hand-built earthenware
18 x 18 x 17 1/4 in. (45.8 x 45.8 x 43.8 cm)
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the artist in honor of Frederick William Robert Hunt
1998.54

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"I like the idea of taking something ordinary and transforming it into a fantasy object. Van Gogh successfully suggests movement in his paintings of iris and I wanted to do the same thing in three dimensions." Artist quoted in a letter to Kenneth Trapp, May 1998

Mary Carroll built the ornate and colorful Bearded Iris-Cobalt using coils and slabs of clay. She created the flower's texture by pressing the clay into molds made from savoy cabbage, whose leaves resemble iris petals. The colors and forms of the fully opened blooms evoke sensuality and boldness, strength and delicacy. Carroll uses anywhere from eight to ten layers of glaze, in a pot saturated in bold color, creating a glistening patch of flowers.


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