An artist must make the choice to be a professional or just have her art as an accompaniment to another life. Ceramic artist Bonnie Belt made the decision to become a professional artist in a purposeful and practical way. She found that her art had to be the focus in her journey through life and her connection to the natural world.
Belt makes her tree branches from coils of clay, and by rolling these coils over a split log she can pick up the actual texture of the wood in the clay. Bonnie then twists and manipulates the textured coils to form trunks and branches for the trees. Another technique Belt uses to complete her natural trees is “smoke-firing”. This finish is done by smoking the piece in a galvanized bin packed with redwood needles and newsprint. The piece was previously under-glazed in a matt finish with highlights masked with torn paper before being set on fire in the prepared bin. The smoked piece is then scrubbed clean to leave an organic, archeological culmination to the work.
Bonnie’s latest work has continued with the incorporation of birds in the depiction of Nature. She is sculpting herons, egrets, hummingbirds, pelicans, swans and other birds on her thrown and assembled pieces. Bonnie also incorporates the curvilinear shapes and the romanticism of the Art Nouveau movement. “I see this influence in my bird and tree sculptures, as well as the work of the Japanese wood cut master Hokusai, in my waves.”