Monday, December 16, 2013

Julia Klemek - A Tribute

Julia was my first ceramic teacher when I started on my road to "mud play" back in 1985.

It was by chance I got into her Thursday evening class at the Irvine Fine Arts Center. I liked her class because she allowed me to do what I wanted to do, instead of following a set of requirements. After learning the basics of the material, I usually set off on my own, but she was always there when I needed technical help or explanation. I moved out of the area three years later and my ceramic exploration stopped for the next 10+ years.

When I decided to return to clay again in 2004, Julia was still teaching the same Thursday evening class. I signed up, showed up and the first thing she said to me was "I recognized your name" and smiled.

In each 10-week class, we would have a live model session and we try our hand in creating miniatures of the model. Figures were not my forte.

I've always admired Julia's style in figure modelling. She would put bits of clay together and in the end, her piece would capture the essence of the human pose.  The marks and textures she left in the clay are what I find most interesting. She never tried to smooth out her figures.

I acquired several of her creations from her estate sale. She passed away earlier this year from ovarian cancer.

Most of them don't have titles. But I discovered when I got home that the second piece down was signed and titled "Teardrops Fall, 2001.

14"H. Untitled, unsigned. Raku fired.
I call this piece "Blue faced woman."

"Teardrops Fall" 2001. Julia Klemek.  9"H.

10"H. Untitled, unsigned
I call this piece "Woman with Colorful Robe."

"A good teacher recognizes the potential of his/her student. And guides them to discover their own natural gift."   Anthony Foo


Harriet Marshall Goode said...

Thank you for this beautiful tribute to Julia Klemek. I never met Julia, but I own her work and represented her when I had a commercial gallery in Rock Hill SC. I knew she had cancer. I did not know she had died. I'm sad. Terribly sad. But I'm still in love with her work, her figurative work, which reminds me of my own figurative paintings.
Harriet Marshall Goode
131 E Main St #500
Rock Hill SC 29730

Anthony Foo said...

Hello Harriet,
Thank you so very much for this contact. It is quite amazing how we touch other people's lives through our art, and Julia has touched countless lives through her ceramic classes and personal interactions. I feel honored to call her my teacher, my mentor and my friend.
Keep well.

Harriet Marshall Goode said...

Hey Anthony,
You were so kind to respond to my post. Thank you. Yesterday, I received a dear letter from Julia's daughter, Rachel, including the card which was sent last year inviting friends to the celebration of her life. I was so touched by her thoughtfulness and will write to her.
Are you a sculptor? A painter?
My best wishes,

Anthony Foo said...

Hi Harriet,
I am a ceramic sculptor. Paperclay has been my medium of choice.