Today I decided to do an artist profile on my good friend and neighbor, Feral Willcox. Unfortunately, we are only exploring her tile mosaic work because I can't possibly cover all of the creative outlets Feral pours her energy into - ceramics, sculpture, mandalas, music, gardening - in one post.
Feral and I have enjoyed a friendship for years, and now I enjoy her creative side more as I regularly visit her studio/living space, which is conveniently located on the other side of our shared house. Our unique living situation with our landlady next door reminds me of Paul's symbiotic friendships with his former neighbor-down-the-hall Brandon (Where the Sweet Olive Grows) and his former next door neighbor Kevin (The Restless Sybarite).
Good friends are wonderful to have, especially close by.
First things first, Feral on Feral:
I am a multi-disciplinary artist, and everything I do begins with the letter P: Pottery, Poetry, Piano, and Pen-and-Ink. In all of these mediums, I'm most interested in Pattern. I'm a pattern junkie. I look for it everywhere I go. In ceramic art, this has led me to work with tile mosaic, and, in three-dimensional ceramic art, to explorations in surface design and texture.
The first project I saw Feral working on was a large pool back splash for a gorgeous home here in Gainesville, Florida. I had seen pictures of the tile layout previously but when you see a monstrous installation like this up close and in person, the effect is overwhelming and disconcerting at first. Then your brain slowly grows accustomed to the myriad of shape and color, and you start to breathe again.
If you click on this picture or any below, you will see the details of the tile and pattern.
Each ceramic tile was individually rolled, cut, glazed and fired by Feral. The brightly colored glass tile in the orderly arcs are by Karen Story at Dolce Glass Tile . The combination of textured earth-toned ceramic and smooth jewel glass interact well rather than clash. I imagine that once the pool was filled, the reflective quality of the water surface would only add to the playful chaotic beauty of the mural.
The detail picture below is just the tile laid out on a white backing, without grout.
The homeowners later commissioned Feral for a second mural for an exterior wall by the outdoor showers. This privacy wall can also be viewed from the master bathroom, bringing joyful color inside the home as well.
This last photo was taken of a handsome tile backsplash Feral created for some friends in California. It is called "Trees Sneeze" for obvious reasons. Feral was in California teaching ceramics at a school in Los Olivos -The Dunn School - and some of the tile installation was done by her students as part of their education.
If you are interested in learning more about Feral's incredible work, she can be reached at feralann (at) yahoo (dot) com. Her ceramic sculpture and pottery are featured in a local artist cooperative gallery here in Gainesville, called The Artistan's Guild. Stop in and see her work, in addition to 50 other area artists, if you are ever in our beautiful city.