Abigail Carney won an American Visions Award for her glazed earthenware Sculpture entry, Turtle. In this guest blog post she shares one of the secrets behind her work: vivid dreams and Clive Barker.

I have always enjoyed creating things. As a child I would spend hours making crafts on my bedroom floor. I mostly create because I enjoy the challenge of making the vision in my head available to other people to see. I also sometimes feel as though the art has a life of its own, and it wants to be revealed and shared.

Abigail Carney at the 2010 Throw-A-Thon, an annual 12-hour ceramics marathon hosted by her ceramics teacher. All works produced at the event are sold and proceeds are donated to charity.

I actually got the inspiration for Turtle, my American Visions Award-winning piece, in a dream. I was at an aquarium and he was in a tank, munching on some underwater grass. He looked much happier in my dream than he turned out in real life, but maybe he’s just mad that I took him away from his tasty plant. Still, I’m really pleased that he has so much expression in his face, even if it’s not the expression I intended. That’s also why I have a tendency to refer to Turtle as if he’s alive, because he was in my dream and because he developed this somewhat grumpy character all on his own.


Abigail's preliminary concept sketch for her American Award Visions-winning piece, "Turtle."

Abigail's preliminary concept sketch for her American Visions Award-winning sculpture, "Turtle."

The majority of my original pieces, like Turtle, come from my dreams. I have very vivid dreams, and I keep a dream journal where I can write or sketch what I see as soon as I wake up. I got the idea from Clive Barker, an author and painter that inspired my Silver Key piece, Skinny Kitty. And if artists had superpowers… I think I would do something with people’s dreams, like helping to interpret them or traveling through them.

Describe my artwork in one word? I think I would use…. “Peculiar.”

Abigail Carney's American Visions Award-winning sculpture, "Turtle."

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