To me, life is myriad layers of color, texture, and meaning. Histories, personal or global, of an hour or an age, are simply accumulated layers, built up over time, worn down by use. My work is about exploring complex mixtures of old and new, surface and core, which make up the patina of human experience.
As a layerist, clay monotype is an ideal medium. A leather hard slab of stoneware clay is the "printing plate". Multiple layers of China clay slip with permanent pigment (the "inks"), are built up to create the image. Every new layer, hand applied, varies in shape, color, thickness. As each unique print is hand pulled, it lifts a thin layer of clay, capturing fragments of many layers, and exposing layers underneath; each represents a slice of the history. I love the unpredictability and infinite variety of this process. It's a lot like life.
Martha Castillo's life reflects many facets of the arts. Embarking on a serious study of classical ballet as a young girl, she found a new voice in the theatre as she entered her teens. She also discovered a love of teaching; instructing arts and crafts for school age children, and co-teaching a summer theatre program with her High School drama coach, while earning a BFA in theatre at Boston University.
Starting in the mid 70's, Martha embarked on an exploration of ceramics as a sculpture medium, and continued her studies in England. In 1993, after a seven year sojourn abroad, Martha turned to collage-making as a means to cope with the complexities of returning to American life. Her art form shortly morphed into mixed media, with heavy use of acrylic paint and found objects. Martha added fine art printmaking, and assemblage to her repertoire.
In 2004, she learned of Mitch Lyons, who invented clay monotype. She met Mitch and began studying with him, and was instantly ~hooked" on the process. She has since made this innovative new technique her primary artistic focus. Martha offers classes and short workshops in clay monotype, and maintains a lively working friendship with Mitch.