Paula Schales — sculptor
My work is an exploration of various levels of relationships. It has been an evolutionary process that started with my relationship to my feelings and how to convey them. This expanded outwardly where I explored relationships between people and the world. Recently, I have moved inward to the parts that make up a person and how they relate to each other. All of the relationships are not just contained within the work itself, either. Since the pieces are small they invite the viewer in where they may relate more intimately with them. Perhaps relationships are just different facets from which to experience life which at some point we finally realize is connected to one, big, everything that has never been separate.
There are three main bodies of work that explore these relationships, the figures, the wall pieces, and the egg series.
The figures explore feelings like fear, empathy, exasperation, alone or in relation to another person. The figures whose heads are masks represent what the world sees but if the language of the body is discerned something very different might be revealed.
The wall pieces explore the relationship to the external world like a diorama telling a story with characters set in a scene like a diner or a big city from the last century. Some are topical to remind us not to forget and to pay tribute to those who sacrificed themselves. Those pieces are not complete without the viewer to receive the message, another level of relationship.
The egg series is my metaphor of the path to becoming fully empowered and self realized. The bronze represents the male, yang energy that is active and in and of the world in contrast to the ceramic eggs that are female, yin energy, hidden, dark energy -- organic. There are light and shadow aspects to both of these energies. The pieces start out with the shadow aspects of the male and female energies being expressed as codependence and move into the light aspects where a synergistic balance of power between the two is shared. All of these aspects are present within all of us and it is life's goal to sort through all of this so that we may fully realize the power of both energies.
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The lost wax process is used to create the bronze sculptures. First, the sculpture is created using wax, paper, cloth, and anything else that is combustible.
After the wax sculpture is finished it is gated which creates the channels that the bronze will flow through when it is being poured. Gates must go to all parts of the sculpture to ensure that the bronze will reach them.
After gating, the ceramic shell mold is created by dipping the sculpture into a slurry mixture then coated with 'sand' multiple times. Between each dip the slurry must completely dry.
Next, comes burnout where the mold is heated in a furnace placed over a hole where the melted wax flows out of the mold.
During this process the shell hardens and strengthens. Finally, the mold is ready to be cast. The bronze is heated to over 2000 degrees in a crucible then poured into the mold. After cooling the sculpture is broken out of the mold then sandblasted to ready it for metal work. The gates are cut off and texture is restored by grinding and polishing. During the cooling process the metal shrinks which can cause cracking and tears which must be repaired usually by welding. If the sculpture was cast in several pieces they are welded together.
After the metal work is done the sculpture is ready for patina. All of the oil is removed by washing with dish soap followed by a rapid wipe down with acetone. A combination of cold and hot patinas, antique black, ferric and cupric nitrate are applied layer by layer. Finally, wax is applied and then buffed to bring out the matted finish.
1998-2009 - Sculpture, ceramics, monotype with David Ogle
West Valley College, Saratoga, CA
2007 - Sculpture with David Middlebrook California State University, San Jose
2007 - Clay monotype printmaking workshop, Martha Castillo
2005 - Sculptural welding workshop, Marilyn Kuksht
2003-2006 - Welding and metal shop. Los Gatos Community Education