Facade 1: The front of a building; also: any other face 2: a false, superficial, or artificial appearance or effect

Using ceramic figurines as the bases for my narratives began ten years ago with a visit to a mom-and-pop shop. The new 18th century figurine “Holly Hobby” sitting contently, pleasantly and fixed innocently on the mantel became my muse. Grounded upon their base, images of children playing, pumpkins, birds and farmers all reflected this stone glazed happiness.

Simultaneously in the same shop, a cross section of the local female population sat at a table decorating figurines totally unaware of my presences. I became a voyeur into a small community, listening to the local gossip hearing personal stories of drugs, sex, affairs, car wrecks and above all life.  As a 21st century nomad, living between communities, abroad in Croatia then back to the US with my Canadian family, as an outsider to community, I felt isolated, distant and jealous of this camaraderie.

Hiding behind a façade, both these happy bliss filled figurines, and myself conceal our unseen pain, guilt and angst of everyday life. These objects become a storage place for hopes and dreams before heading back to reality.  My ceramic work is about that unspoken reality.


Paul McMullan-NH


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