I love raw clay. It would be helpful to the blogging process if I could articulate this. I’ll try but with all great love affairs there is that part that is unexplainable. Yes?
The first time I remember being aware of the love of clay was in a Sculpture 101 class in college. The assignment was mold making – to sculpt an object out of clay that was then covered with plaster. Into the plaster mold went hydro-stone or some other artist’s plaster stuff. Making multiples was the object. Good stuff to know.
I made an Afghan hound. All that flowy hair was helpful – no undercuts. A ceramics major in the class – a girl I regarded as a mean girl – came over to my work table. She shifted her weight to one hip, raised one hand to her chin, and eyed my piece. I braced. Here it comes.
She reached out and ran a finger down the spine of the Afghan. “Shame it can’t be clay forever,” she said.
At the time, I didn’t know what to say. I remember saying something like, “sure,” or something else short and non-committal. Experience with previous conversations with her had taught me to say as little as possible. But I didn’t understand, really, what she was talking about that day.
Of course, I figured it out long ago. (I’ve been out of college for how long? Sheesh…). Now when the sculptures reach the point like the one above – what is called leather hard – I wish, wish, wish I could keep it in that state.
Impossible. Not practical. The work must be dehydrated – dried and fired. Turned to stone.
It’s okay. But I’m thinking about the surface of these pieces a lot lately. Changes afoot.