Monday, October 02, 2000
2000 Commission Mural with Maestra Marta Combariza
The last commission in Colombia before traveling to Canada is an enormous wall mural to be placed near a water dam of a Hydro Company in the mountains of Boyaca, Colombia. It takes us a year to do it: I go to the mountain and bring local clay, tests are done and I get the mix to meet the high temperature needed by adding grog, sand and iron oxide; once the tests are done I prepare a batch of a Ton of clay. In the meantime, Maestra Marta Combariza works on the design with the ideas discussed: mountains, water, textures, birds and fish. We make a work plan, blow up her initial design to life-size (6.80m x 3.40) and adjust it. Then clay work starts by making 25 x 20 cm. tiles on 2m x 1m boards. Slowly the mural starts to have a life of its own: marshes with reeds, a river in the centre and mountains on both sides. We add textures, branches, leafs, birds, fish... oxydes and several natural earthy color slips. The slow drying takes most of my Guamuca Studio space for the technical problem is warping of the tiles. Then I start to do firings in the gas kiln (come 8, or 1250C or 2300F). Here we are organizing the finished mural, just as making a jigsaw puzzle. She packed and finished it; still lives in Colombia, teaches Art at the National University in Bogota and I moved to Canada and never saw the finished mural on the wall specially made for it somewhere in the Central Andes, near the water dam in Boyaca, Colombia. In my heart the mural is alive, stands there and has its own life to be seen each day by local campesinos (farmers) and passers by.