ABOUT PAULA BLACKMAN
I have a propensity towards sculpture. The world is three-dimensional and it is natural for me to think in those terms. I ’walk around’ images and thoughts in my mind. The way I think has directed the course of my life. I received my BFA degree in Sculpture. After graduation I felt a need to develop my work, gain new insight through travel and simply contemplate my direction. I received two Honorary Scholarships from the Cleveland Institute of Art as well as lesser awards. Since then I have been commissioned for several Public Art and private pieces. I have participated in Juried and Invitational exhibitions in Cleveland and nationally. I have now completed my Master of Arts degree from Kent State University.
I have taught Ceramic Sculpture for three years at the Cleveland Institute of Art in the Young Artists program. These classes were held on Saturdays for Middle School and High School students ages 12-18 years. We worked from the life model on individual and group projects. I was also an Instructor for Children’s Classes and Adult drawing at the Cleveland Museum of art for five years. The classes would consist of a lecture in a particular gallery along with an assignment to coincide with the talk. This was a valuable experience in that I learned very much about our Museum and its collection. I find when teaching I learn along with the students through my interaction with them.
I received two Assistantships at Arrowmont school of Arts and Crafts. Most influential there was the firing of the Japanese Anagama Kiln, which is a multi-chambered kiln, built on a hill outdoors. It is a wood-fired kiln that takes 4-5 days to reach temperature. We chop wood and take shifts stoking the kiln all day and night. The results are beautiful random wood-ash glazes on the ceramics. It is a communal project. The process is one of individuals working interdependently for a successful result.
A semblance on a larger scale which was an exciting and educational experience for me was to be part of the Installation Crew for the Christo Umbrellas Project; USA and Japan. I worked on the Umbrellas in California for one month until the close. Thousands of people from near and far gathered together in two countries for the realization of an idea. I was later invited to lecture on the Umbrellas Project at Western Kentucky University, The Arts Center in St. Petersburg FL and The Coachella Valley High School in southern California.
I am fortunate in having had the opportunities to travel for extended periods which gave me life experiences that were unequaled in my daily living in the U.S. I have traveled through Africa, South and Central America, China, South East Asia, Micronesia, India, Nepal and Australia. I am intrigued by distinguished artistic tradition in cultures that consider art, life and religion as one.
I continue to work in my own studio. I produce my bronze sculpture and contract for other artists at a local art bronze-casting foundry where I apprenticed for two years before working as a sculpting contractor. Each aspect of the casting process is an art in itself and must be considered in that way. I currently participate in exhibitions and produce commissioned works of public art.