Monday, April 28, 2014

Clay Menagerie and a Short Memory




 

The scene is memory and is therefore non-realistic. Memory takes a lot of poetic license. It omits some details; others are exaggerated, according to the emotional value of the articles it touches, for memory is seated predominantly in the heart.
from The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams


 
Clay has a memory.  It doesn't always agree with one's own remembering.  This particular clay body (terra cotta) has a "short" temperament.  It does not like being rolled into coils.  It does not like any attachments.  It slumps.  It does fires to a lovely rusty red.  It has a wide firing range. After working and wrestling with it last year I realized we needed to part ways.  Then I found 2 bags of it---long forgotten---under the studio table.  It had aged a year.  Matured.  There was a lovely moldy spotting.  A good sign.  It wedged nicely.    I decided to give it a second chance.  Out came this sweet face with its clay menagerie. It's nearly done and drying. It will go through some firing. More layering of color.  A fable written in scratches and stains. For now, it waits for the kiln. Patiently searching the horizon line between thought and memory.


13 comments:

  1. She is so lovely! What a treat to find that 'aged' bag and this memory just waiting to be told.
    Looking forward to seeing her after her trips through the kiln.

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    1. Do you have memories of things that did not happen in real life but it that daydream world of a child's heart? I've been thinking about that lately and I guess that is where this came from....

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    2. Lots of my images are those childhood dreams - seem so real now! And that sweet face looks straight from a child's heart.

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  2. She's beautiful, Charlene.
    Prettily pensive with her companions of thoughts.
    Very much looking forward to her final presentation.

    I feel like that often, a whole farmyard of creatures jumbling about for space and attention in my head.

    I'm always glad to buy the "greener" bags of white clay at the bottom of the pile. Older, more mature and happier to comply.
    I know the feeling :)

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    1. Oh the best porcelain clay is green, green, green! It is a dream to wedge, too. As to this clay menagerie, I hope it is done by the end of this month. Right now it is drying along with a fellow sculpture made with the same clay. She is not as pensive.

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  3. She is really beautiful! I particularly love her eyes and cheeks. The quote is beautiful too. It may sound strange but I believe that everything on earth such as plants, animals, stones, and so on has memory...

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    1. I am hoping to keep the eyes gray-blue and the cheeks ruddy. Sometimes the kiln sees it differently and out comes something totally different! It has its own memory, too. And I am with you---I think sometimes the earth misses the people we were.....

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  4. How wonderful to read the clay has matured. You write so elegantly. Needless to say, I am happy to spot a rabbit on the head! : ) I have several hopping above my head, and above them there are several birds flying in circle. :D (True!)

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    1. Oh, there are more animals (deer and sheep) around the back...it is a circle of life...how you make me smile---I can see those birds! And the hopping rabbits :)

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  5. Hello, Charlene, it's wonderful to produce something so fabulous from clay you had kind of abandoned. I now find myself going back to clays which have lain long forgotten, as my tastes and needs change. Always worth hanging onto things if you have the space :) Your sculpture is amazing, she possesses an ineffable beauty. I always wonder what they might be thinking or dreaming about..

    ps. I'm really sorry for missing you recent comments on my blog, due to it not being sent to my current e-mail address. Have now published them, thanks so much :)

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    1. hello, Mark! I am so glad you did get my comments. I live between two homes at the moment. The one on the coast is not set up for wireless. I go into town to the local bakery/coffee shop with my tablet. For some reason I have difficulty with leaving comments at blogs. The last time I brought my laptop thinking that might work better! So I was very puzzled when it didn't! Thank you for letting me know and for all the kind words. I am still parting company with this clay for sculptural work. It was good to finish it. I have another piece done in it drying.

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  6. never realized that some clay is better with age; I love her ruddy cheeks and thoughtful eyes

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    1. Greenish porcelain is the best. Wedged all that green into itself and it feels like soft bread dough. I also find that my terra sigillata gets better with age, too. :)

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