Paul Frazer is a multitalented art teacher and artist who works in many media–paint, clay, chalk, you name it. Together with his wife Suzanne they create stunning works of art at Frazer Studios. BuyZombie staff member Patrick Freivald asked Paul some questions about their hideously beautiful zombie mugs.
1. As an author who loves both zombies and coffee, I think these are brilliant. What inspired you to create zombie mugs?
I have always loved monster movies. As a kid I was always fascinated with the many creatures brought to life in movies by special effects artists. Now as an art teacher it is exciting for me to research and learn the many different processes and techniques used by practical effects artists and share this knowledge with my students. I love watching sculptors model fantasy characters out of clay and, using moldmaking and casting processes, create monsters.
I was fortunate to assist with makeup for a stage production of “Night of the Living Dead” at the Roadhouse theater in Erie, Pa in 1999. Since that experience I have been fascinated with zombies and the many incarnations of this iconic creature. As a ceramic artist I have a very diverse portfolio of pottery, sculpture and everything in between. I like making mugs, love coffee, and have recently been inspired to create a line of monster mugs. The “Zombie Mug” is my first design, I also have created an “Alien Mug” and will soon add a “Demon Mug” which I have in process and plan to create a few more designs inspired by my favorite monsters as well as a couple more different zombie forms.
2. How many different colors will there be?
I have a whole range of ceramic glazes I plan to use for finishing the mugs. I have been creating a unique color scheme for each mug with variations on the traditional gray, brown, and green zombie. There is a repetitiveness involved with creating a production line which I have not always enjoyed, glazing each mug differently helps me enjoy the process more and also provides a wide range of one of a kind mugs for people to adopt.
3. How long have you been doing sculpture?
I have been an aspiring artist all of my life. I learned to throw on the pottery wheel when I was 12 and have been working with clay ever since, over thirty years. In obtaining my Art Education degree I also completed the entire class sequence of ceramics, drawing and sculpture, it took an extra year but I was able to produce a competitive undergraduate portfolio. I was accepted into a very good graduate program for ceramics and was able to combine all of my interests by focusing upon large scale, classically inspired, figurative clay sculptures. Since graduate school I have been creating a wide variety of ceramic art and always seem to gravitate towards forms and images inspired by science fiction, horror and fantasy.
4. Tell us a little about the process you used to make these mugs.
The monster mugs are all created by first sculpting the form out of a solid hunk of clay. After the sculpt is complete I make a multisectional plaster mold design for ceramic slip casting. With a completed mold, slip casting involves pouring the liquid porcelain clay into the mold and after about thirty minutes or so, a solid wall develops on the interior of the form and then the remaining liquid clay is poured off, leaving the cast to firm up for another couple of hours.
Once the form is removed from the mold, there is a good amount of clean up and finish sculpting to complete for each piece. The zombie mug is a double walled form, so there is a separate cup I also slip cast then join to the clay zombie form on the potters wheel. A pulled handle is then added to finish up the mug.
After the mugs are dry I fire them in an electric kiln to about 1944 degrees F, this is called a bisque firing. After glaze is applied by painting, dipping and/or airbrushing. The pieces are fired again, this time to about 2160 degrees F, this is the final glaze fire and takes about 24hrs to fire and cool.
5. If I want one, how do I order?
We encourage people on Facebook to go to Frazer Studios page and “like” us to learn about all the different things we create. We have just opened an Etsy store and have several pieces for sale. Our Etsy store is called FrazerCeramicStudios. We will also occasionally put a few pieces up for auction on ebay. New monster mugs are being created every day and will be continually added to our etsy store. Thank you.
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