Abstract painting: how Janet began creating unique fine art wall sculptures

After thirty years of sculpting figurative work in ceramic clay, Janet Fullmer Bajorek found herself intrigued with a totally new artistic challenge. In June 2005 she encountered in her mother’s garage a large group of industrial patterns that had been saved from the family business. Her father was, as her brother is, a patternmaker, sometimes called a modelmaker. Patternmakers make models in wood which are used by mold makers at foundries to form a cavity in sand into which molten metal is poured to form a casting. Most metal products we use originated with a wood pattern – think of anything from metal lamp bases and cooking pots to auto engine and space rocket parts.  After the metal casting is made the wood pattern is no longer needed.

Fullmer Bajorek thought the wood patterns were visually interesting and representative of so much human thought and endeavor that she hated to discard them. So she created a new abstract art form – assemblages of wood patterns on plywood bases which become wall-hanging, low-relief sculptures that she calls “wood assemblages.” She strips the wood patterns of their original finishes, attaches them to a background board with a hanging system, and paints them. The images above show several of these wood assemblages, compositions which may contain from one to fifteen wood patterns.

“I am happy to be recycling these once useful parts of the manufacturing process into an exciting group of artworks, each totally unique in composition, color and feeling,” says Fullmer Bajorek.


Janet Fullmer Bajorek has been known primarily as a ceramic sculptor for the past thirty years.  However, she recently began a totally new artistic endeavor: making low-relief, painted wood assemblages from discarded wood industrial patterns.

Asked why she began making wood assemblages after a career as a ceramic artist, Fullmer Bajorek replied:

Because I am an artist and am driven to be creating something new at all times.

Because my father and brother were both patternmakers and left me dozens of wood patterns that are too fascinating to throw away.

Because I like the challenge of sorting through the old patterns to find sizes and shapes that can be used together in an interesting composition.

Because I like to recycle discarded objects and give them new life.

Because I like the mystery of each wood pattern – what was its metal casting used for originally, where was it used, how long ago was it made?


Janet Fullmer Bajorek attended the University of Redlands in California for the first two years of college, then transferred to the University of the Americas in Mexico City where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree (Magna Cum Laude) in Latin American Studies.

She is an exhibiting member of the Association of Clay and Glass Artists of California.  She has owned and directed Iguana Galleries in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1991.


See Fullmer Bajorek’s ceramic sculpture at iguana galleries.com.