Posted on Feb 11, 2014

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.

Clay Rabbit on armature

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.


  1. genjiscorner
    February 11, 2014

    You’re an addict. You keep making pieces so you can get to this point again and again 🙂

  2. Robin Willoughby
    February 11, 2014

    I love the totally finished piece. The feel of some glazes just turns me on. Some I’ll just feel and rub for a while. But then…I’m not a sculptor….just a potter…

  3. Mark Turner
    March 7, 2014


    Your love is the process of creation… Regardless of your human and canine relationships and entanglements. You, as Michalangelo and Da Vinci, felt the draw to make things and beings from base materials, not to imitate the deity, but to honor. You merely imitate a library professional to make a living and interact with the same. And you can then afford to buy materials to continue your odyssey. If you made other sculpted items, we could no longer afford your work. Thank you for the voluntary hobbles.


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