Ficus Ceramica is a one-woman porcelain slipcasting studio, specializing in smokable, real-life casts of food objects.  I live, work, and smoke a lot of weed in the historic and gaudy New Orleans neighborhood of Faubourg Marigny, where I'm surrounded and inspired by ostentatious architecture, lush tropical gardens, a food culture unrivaled in the US, and neighbors that are down to get down. 

 

My art is made by first making precise plaster molds of real food or nature objects, then using a house-made recipe of liquid porcelain to cast copies of the real thing.  I am involved in every step of my process, from sourcing 50# bags of dry materials for my clay, to glazing and firing in my own kiln, to the creative photography and marketing that introduces my product to you and your friends.  

I feel so lucky to have found this weird little niche of an art business.  Every aspect is a perfect match for me.  Food and nature are at the top of my list of favorite things, especially when they have a deeper cultural significance, like crawfish in New Orleans, or okra in the South.  I believe that all of our everyday routines are potential moments of beauty and contemplation, including using cannabis, so these pipes are an elevation beyond the played out glass pipes that we all have used and abused.  What better time to immerse yourself in the details of an open pomegranate or a Dungeness crab in all her glory?  I curate what you're holding in your hands as you're getting "inspired."  I love the science involved in ceramics - thermodynamics in the kiln, glaze and clay chemistry, molecular ionization to deflocculate my slip, and the finicky nature of plaster.  Ceramics is also one of the more dangerous arts, with toxic materials, ridiculously high temperatures, and heavy-ass things, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't thrive on that danger.  And finally, I love the limitless creativity of clay as a material.  It can be almost anything you want, only your process and skills restrain your result.  

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 Kate Clarke 
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