The Methods...Works of Art...
The methods that Tuska employed over the course of his career have been used by artists and artisans alike for centuries. The foundation of his talent was his ability to channel his creative energy through these arcane methods and create contemporary works of art. More on the methods...works of art...
John Tuska was a master potter first and foremost. His knowledge of the medium encompassed every facet, ranging from raw materials and methods of shaping and sculpting to the finer points of glaze chemistry.
He could manipulate clay, stoneware and even porcelain with equal skill on either a manual or electric potter's wheel. The bases and necks of his Three Bottles are characteristic of his thrown clay work.
He hand formed other pieces from stoneware or slabs of clay. Torso Bottle and Energy Source are good examples of his slab-formed clay work, and one of his earlier public works, Genesis, is done in hand-formed stoneware.
Tuska's skill as a glaze chemist added another dimension to his pottery work. Some of the unique colored finishes he was able to apply to his pieces are still in use by colleagues today.
Tuska's successes with pottery eventually gave way to restlessness as he became too comfortable working in the medium. His desire to achieve some "creative discomfort" drove him to explore bronze casting during a sabbatical in Italy.
He created many of his earlier bronze sculptures, such as Handstand and Solar Boat, using the centuries-old "lost wax" method. He would first sculpt a "positive" in beeswax and create a "negative" mold by pouring plaster or ceramic over the sculpted wax. Once the liquid hardened, he fired the mold in a kiln. The intense heat further hardened the plaster and melted away the "lost" wax, leaving a hollow mold for the bronze.
Drawings and Sketches
Tuska used the pen and pencil to provide endless self taught studies into his visions. As his personal evolution maintained a fast pace into his own education, sketches and drawing became his avenue to "think" and figure out. A vast collection of works remain to document his early studies in pottery designs and his renaissance to study the human form throughout his career.
Always trying to answer "what if?" Tuska found any and all mediums to explore. He did not limit himself to clay, paper, and bronze. Other works were studied or completed in wood, plastics, fiberglass resins, fabrics, and glass. After life changing health problems in 1987, no longer able to work in the labor intensive bronze process, Tuska created three dimensional studies in clay and wax and made and cast his own paper reliefs.
Tuska refused to limit himself to one or two mediums, and his desire to fully explore the products of his fertile imagination required a constant search for new expression.