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Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Judy is fascinated with faces and it shows in her art

The  Coconut Grove Arts Festival and the St. Stephen's Art Show are February 18-20, 2017. We'll be profiling some of the artists who are participating this year. Today, Judy Robkin is featured, she will be showing at the Coconut Grove Arts Festival.

Judy Robkin creates handmade one-of-a-kind clay personalities. This is her first year showing at the Coconut Grove Arts Festival. "I'm very excited about it!" says Judy.

Judy, who lives in Atlanta, is quite new on the art show circuit. Her first show was a year and a half ago in Winston-Salem, NC at the Piedmont Craftsmen's Show. Since then she has shown (or will be showing) at many indoor and outdoor shows including the Carolina Designer's Fair and the American Craft Council 2017 show along with the Grove Festival this month.

She never uses real models for her work. "My mind is overflowing, or should I say 'cluttered' with faces. I am fascinated by older women's faces in particular. I love the lines and wrinkles that give such depth of expression and hint at their stories and history," said Judy.

I asked Judy if she had any favorite artists and who her influences might be, she told me that a photographer named Andy Goldsworthy who manipulates natural objects into spectacular installations is her favorite.

Judy has been working in clay for 20 years but mostly focused on raku platters. A few years ago, while traveling in Croatia, she saw an elderly female street vendor and asked to take her picture. Judy's husband then told her she was beautiful and I took a second photograph.

You can see the photos here.

"The resulting grin transformed this older woman into a blushing teenager. Before this time, I had never made a portrait in clay. My goal now is to catch a woman mid-thought, perhaps she has just heard a secret or seen something beautiful," she said.

It takes a few weeks for Judy to complete each piece, she can work on a number at a time. She uses a wide range of glazes, underglazes, engobes and oxides fired numerous times in order to achieve a depth of color and texture. The completed pieces are incredible.

Judy has a studio in her house which gives her a great deal of flexibility.

So much of her inspiration comes from the people she meets. "I'm continuously in search of interesting faces and the stories that go along with them. When I'm not in the studio, I am usually scouring antique stores or garage sales looking for small objects to incorporate in my 'Ladies.' I want each piece I make to inspire conversations, laughter or memories," she says.

Well, Judy will have thousands of inspirations walking around and admiring her work at the festival, I'm sure someone will catch her eye and perhaps end up being part of her next work of art.

You can see a lot more of Judy's creations at her website here: judyrobkin.com.


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