Cherise Ward

April 2014

About Cherise:

Cherise Ward is an Illustrator living in Barbados. After completing her Associate Degree in Visual Arts at the Barbados Community College, Cherise received her BFA in Illustration from the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

Cherise’s work has been shown in exhibitions in America; including New York City, California, and Chicago, as well as in Barbados. Her illustrations have been published on the covers of graphic novels and the pages of children’s books. Cherise’s work is often inspired by nature and her love of fantasy and storytelling.

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Week 1
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“A Journey of the Imagination”

Before starting the residency, I attended a talk at Fresh Milk by three artists who spoke about their residency experiences. After hearing these, I was determined to start the residency (my first) with a clear mind and willingness to embrace new ideas.

Day one of the ‘My Time’ residency started with a talk with Annalee, where we discussed my intentions for how I will spend my time, and emphasised the importance of experimenting and exploring ideas over the necessity of producing finished work. I had a tour of the facilities, and then I took some time to explore the expansive grounds. Fresh Milk has a lot of space to explore: cows, chickens, the sounds of birds, breeze, plants, trees, flowers, and a swing. It was very easy to feel relaxed, and with a clear mind, I was excited to get started.

On that first day, Annalee recommended a few books for me to look through. One of them, The Art of James Christensen: A Journey of the Imagination perfectly summed up my intentions for how I will spend my time during the four weeks at Fresh Milk.

My plans for this residency included developing ideas for a story, and using this as the main inspiration for sculptural explorations. Week one of the residency was spent fleshing out the pages of the story. The idea was inspired by a fairytale I read for a class a number of years ago, called ‘The Doll in the Grass.” In this story, the doll falls into the water, and when she is brought to the surface, she has been transformed into a real girl. My story follows the adventures of this doll. Throughout her adventures, she is deep in thought. She laments about being made of wood, wanting to fall in love, wondering if she can without a real heart that beats, and finally, wishing she was a real girl. She is so caught up in her own thoughts that she does not realize that she is being followed by a real boy.  The story reflects the importance of being present in your life, as there is a lot you can miss out on when you are caught up on what was, or what you wish could be. (This story has a happy ending).

The imagery of the story is very much influenced by Fresh Milk’s surroundings. My work in general is inspired by nature, and there was so much to be inspired by. I decided to make the grounds of Fresh Milk her environment in the story. So this is where much of her journey takes place.

For the illustrations, I used acrylic ink on watercolour paper. This story, and these illustrations, will be the inspiration for the sculptures/puppets/toys I will work on/experiment with/explore in the coming weeks.

Follow Cherise on Tumblr for updates on her residency & practice.

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Week 2

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Experiments with Clay

Week 2 of the residency was the beginning of my sculptural explorations. I wanted to explore the idea of building functional sculptures inspired by my illustration concepts, so I spent this week experimenting with clay. Growing up, I was always making things with my hands, and clay was something my mother would buy for me to sculpt with. The last time I sculpted anything with clay was about 3 or 4 years ago and I was very excited to use this time to work with it again, and learn more about ceramics.

During the first week, Annalee introduced me to Juliana Innis, a local Artist. Juliana gave me many tips, sharing information about her own work and firing technique, as well as information about mixing glazes.

Over the weekend I bought some local clay. I spent the first day brainstorming, sketching ideas, and doing research.  In The Colleen Lewis Reading Room, I found two very interesting books on ceramics. One called Japanese Ceramics Today, which had a lot of interesting information and images; and the second book, Handbuilt Ceramics, included techniques such as pinching and coiling.

When I started sculpting, I had an idea of what I wanted to make based on my sketches. I worked through the initial uncertainty, and enjoyed the process and the exploration. As I continued working, the initial idea evolved.

The first finished piece is a vase.

I’ve started a second piece, and I’m excited to see what the finished product will look like.

On Saturday, I went on a family excursion to Chalky Mount, St. Andrew, where we had the opportunity to meet the potter John Springer. John spoke about our local clay, and demonstrated the use of the potter’s wheel. He also showed us his kiln, and explained how it functioned.

Follow Cherise on Tumblr for more updates on her residency & practice.

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Week 3

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Puppet Beginnings

The first day of Week 3 of the residency was spent completing the clay sculpture I started last week.

On Tuesday, I began building a rod puppet, using air-drying clay. I cut wooden dowel sticks for the arms, and next week I will work to complete it.

On Wednesday, Juliana Inniss came to visit the studio. It was great to meet her in person. She was able to see the sculptures I made, and gave helpful feedback, as well as tips for future projects.

The mold making and casting kit I ordered arrived last week. This week I started developing ideas for what I will create with this, and I’m looking forward to experimenting with it.

Follow Cherise on Tumblr for more updates on her residency & practice.

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Week 4

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Final Week

Week 4, the final week of the residency, was spent experimenting with mold making and casting, and working on the puppet.

While making the molds, I was anxious to see how they would turn out. I poured the molds, and let them stay overnight. The next day they were turned from liquid to rubber, and I was happy with how they came out.

I was excited to pour the first cast. This did not turn out as well as I would have liked, so I tried again. I was able to make 3 casts of the girl and rooster, plus one made with the very last of the liquid plastic. These are to be wall hangings, and I’m looking forward to painting them.

I also made 5 bunny casts. The shape for the bunny was a simple design, keeping in mind that I wanted to make a simple mold. These can be painted in any way, and I gave one to Annalee, and one to Katherine, to see what ideas they come up with.

I painted one using acrylic paint, and started a second one.

I enjoyed the time spent at Fresh Milk during the 4 weeks of the residency. I would like to thank Annalee and Katherine for their support during these 4 weeks. The residency allowed me to work on ideas that I had not had time to explore in the past. It gave me the opportunity to try new things, and watch initial ideas develop into concepts I had not considered before. Through the residency I was able to meet Juliana, and through her feedback, I have new ideas that I’m looking forward to exploring. I’m happy I made the decision to do a local residency, and I’m pleased with what I have taken away from my experience at Fresh Milk.

I will be doing a Puppet Building Workshop on May 20th as the community outreach portion of the residency. I will be teaching primary school students about puppets, and puppet building, so I will update the blog with images from the workshop.

Follow Cherise on Tumblr for more updates on her residency & practice.

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