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Craft: Clay: Synthetic Blues
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Synthetic Blues
Curtis Benzle, Suzan Benzle
4 1/2 x 7 1/2 x 6 1/2in. (11.3 x 19 x 16.5cm)
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Thomas E. Simpson
"We want to create art that enhances life and makes people feel better about themselves, their society, and their environment." Curtis Benzle, quoted in A Life in Crafts, 1988

Curtis and Suzan Benzle created Synthetic Blues by cutting pieces of colored clay and methodically piecing and rolling them together before gently placing the completed slab into a bowl-shaped mold to be fired. They used a special clay body that contained only twenty percent clay, the remainder being a combination of plasticizers, feldspars and flint, making the finished product as translucent as possible. The interlocking patterns of colorful stripes and playful red hearts evoke the image of a handmade patchwork quilt, which may have been inspired by Suzan's experience in textiles and weaving. The vessel's white lip creates a visible boarder, a signature feature of pieces the Benzles worked on together.

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