Oddest Goddess Art

Oddest Goddess Art

About The Artist

Barbara Koppang • Menomonie, WI

Each of my pieces is an exploration. Mostly, I don't even know where I am going until I arrive and get a chance to look around. Life experiences, my interests in storytelling, mythology and nature have all informed the art I create. Myths skillfully weave words to create worlds to answer the questions of life. Like myths, I want my art to not only answer questions but to also create questions. I sculpt tangible pieces of stories that transcend my life and touch a memory, feeling or story that we might share together. My art starts with sticks and/or stones and other natural detritus that I find on my daily walks in nature. These sustainable treasures are melded together with the paper clay I sculpt, then oven and air dry, then sand. After they are dry I often carve further. A patina of oil paint is applied, then multiple applications of wax/ resin are applied in an encaustic technique. I carve a bit more for an art piece of depth and texture.


Artist website

Q&A with the Artist

Tell us how your work is made.

Each piece is created a bit different from every other. I start with one or more pieces of dried wood, stones, shells, seed pods, cactus bones and/or other dead and dried natural materials. These natural materials are combined by sculpting with paper clay. After oven and/or weeks of air drying, I sand and sometime carve into the dried clay to further refine my pieces. A patina of oil paint is applied and rubbed off to give my pieces a feel of antiquity. Lastly, I apply multiple layers of colored wax and damar resin to create a multi layered appearance, a warm touch feel, and a depth to the piece. Frequently, I will carve into the wax, as well. My piece is then hung in my studio to live with me for a time while I figure out what my subconscious was creating.

What makes you passionate about the medium you work with?

I grew up in the out of doors. My parents were adventurers & teachers: a science teacher Mom & Outdoor Ed teacher Dad. I was tent camping at 3 months old; at 4 yrs I was carrying a little pack up the mountains of numerous mountain ranges. I grew up adventuring. The out of doors was my playground. Picking up sticks & stones was natural to me. I loved the feel of being in nature. I also read fairy tales voraciously! My Mom was also a 3rd generation artist. She encouraged my art. When I felt drawn to create as an adult, I was presented with the realization that I didn�t have the money for art materials. My first sculptures were made with thrifted scraps of felted wool & small sculpted faces. This process I called 3 dimensional quilting. As my art progressed, I was drawn to clay sculpture even more & the stories I could tell with my art. These pieces now feel familiar to me in the same way as the sticks & stones, I have picked up off the ground all my life.

What is something unique about you or your practice?

Over and over, I hear from people that my work is unique. They have never seen anything like it! Frequently, folks come into my booth and say things like, �Oh! You are a wood carver!� When I say that I also use clay in my work, they are surprised. My painting techniques make my pieces appear as if they are made totally of wood. Also, people are surprised when my pieces engender unexpected emotions. I have had people cry when they see a piece that they feel connected to.