Posts Tagged ‘Clay sculpture’


September 22, 2014

Clay Sculpture 1 (renewal) 027 (1024x615) (2)

I believe in flow.

Flow has been at the heart of my life as a dancer.

If dance has been like a river flowing

throughout my life,

changing times and an aging body

has caused the river to branch into tributaries

of poetry, clay sculpture, drawing and music.

Singing has had its turn

and painting, too,

to flow around obstacles created by doubt.

Doubt has often loomed heavily,

obscuring the way,

and times of despair have caused drought.

My progress has stalled…

bogged down in the muck;

my heart feels dry and my world

appears colorless for a while.

Clay Sculpture 1 (renewal) 023 (1024x646) (2)

Recently, decorating pottery in the Shearwater annex

has brought flow and color back to my life.

I have found renewal in the clay:

the feel, look, smell of this earthy substance

has grounded my body…

revived my heart.

My right arm –

stalled by extensive and painful surgery –

has grown strong and brave,

and has carried out my purpose

of resuming the flow.

The river of dance –

still present in my seventy-year-old being –

has formed yet another tributary.

Praise heaven and all the angels:

I am able to bring color to my world!

Clay Sculpture 1 (renewal),Green Heron, Ohr 028 (1024x615)

As my confidence has grown in the present flow, I have pondered sculptural shapes: free-form vessels formed by my hands, conducive to my particular style of decorating. Not instead of my work at the annex with my dear women companions, but a possible means of growth…a chance to explore. So clay was purchased – and a small expensive kiln. The latter with considerable fear and trembling. At my age you do not take on such things as blithely as when younger. I approached the clay before the kiln was delivered, as tentatively as someone who had never created clay sculptures before. I wedged the clay, slamming it down repeatedly to soften it…bring it to yielding. I felt my shoulder object, and I wondered what I was doing. I felt old and scared: doubt did its damnedest to stop the meager flow that was trickling forth. My hands kept moving: pushing, pulling, stretching and stroking despite the doubt…despite the twinges of pain. I didn’t last long that first session. I wasn’t encouraged by this beginning. I covered her quickly, a bit embarrassed by my efforts. It took a while to return. When I did, I reminded myself that judgment at this point was foolish; completion was so far off, and decorating and firing were more than half of it. I had begun!

A few days later the kiln was delivered from Dogwood Ceramics via movers I had hired. It rode in the back of a truck thoroughly crated in wood. I was daunted, but the movers dealt with it vehemently. Finally the kiln stood on my screen porch where the old non-functioning one had stood for years. But it did not look right. The box on the front: the computer and electrical unit was pulled out, metal bent, screws pulled loose. There was obvious damage. The kiln, expected to contribute to the flow, is itself an obstacle.  A terrible question looms: Who is responsible? Another: Can I keep faith that the river of dance that is my life will maintain its flow. Of course I can… But I might need a boat.



October 13, 2013


Even angels

reach a point in time

when one wing must be folded close…

retired from efforts to sustain a balanced flight.

 This angel’s weariness is clear to me:

The pull of gravity

is a gift she yields to gladly;

I sense a grateful leaning

into all that life has wrought.

This favored wing

has served her well

has brought her to the heights of glory

and beyond.

Now she must bless it’s failure to arise and fly…

bless pain and weariness…

bless molting feathers and fragility.

Beloved evidence of  countless dances with the clouds,

it is now time to rest.

I feel the weight of your surrender…

As I prepare myself for my own surrender – surgery on my own right wing (my shoulder) – this small clay sculpture of an angel appeals to me. “Look again at your creation from another life. Twenty-three years ago you lifted my warm beauty from the kiln and marveled at the work of your own hands. My soft pink glow was pristine then. Your dancing body – though not so young – was strong and vibrant. Dance was a way of life for you, while sculpture was a little something on the side. But the message was the same: Yield to gravity and accept the gift of rising. My message then – though my particular substance be forgotten – is reaching you anew. My aged form has stood upon the ledge surrounding your screen porch. Your glance has passed me by for years. Rains have blown through and I have softened in the humid air. Storms have threatened my survival. The summer suns blazed down relentlessly, re-firing me, re-hardening my surface. My original purity of surface is quite different from the surface you perceive today. The grime of years is baked into my porous self, and from the accumulated moisture of all the years, a green patina causes me to reflect the foliage of the great outdoors. You now admire my greenish glow and photograph me as yet another gift from nature’s bounty. Yes… I have gotten a little carried away. Perhaps I seem to carry a grudge. Actually, these words are simply a small reflection of your journey. Life has been hard, and you have weathered a variety of inner and outer storms, not to mention tedious repeats of the seasons.  The point is this: You have survived…as I have. Miraculously, our substance is still present…still capable of giving and receiving messages that bring life into focus. And life continues even as we let it go. Though we lie down – or sit on a ledge forgotten –  life is doing it’s little magic tricks. And we are still playing our part.”


May 5, 2013

Pears Variations (Color) 066 (1024x768) Canon (2)I rarely buy pears;

their mild white flesh –

though loaded with juice –

is not to my taste.

Yet recently browsing at Rouse’s Supermarket,

I found myself standing and gazing admiringly

at pears.

Piled up in the usual

abundant and precarious manner

of supermarket fruit,

they appeared to be winking,

exposing the rosy flush on their cheeks

to my (I confess it) susceptible eye.

I surrendered.

??????????????????????Once at home with my pears,

I figured it out:

the eye that had stopped me in front of the pears

was the eye of the recently ordained photographer.

And the poor dear pears,

delectable as they are to some,

were soon posed and posed again

on the usual black drape.

The drape was becoming

to the yellow-green pears

with their blushing cheeks.

The lovely pear shape was enhanced to perfection.

But form calls to form.

??????????????????????After shooting countless variations

of pear unto pear,

I recalled a particular sculpture

that might lend itself

to the arrangement.

She was one of several abstract figures

done in the nineties,

and I found her to be complimentary

to the pears.

They seemed to be getting rather tired,

but they perked up considerably

in her motherly presence.

Who would have thought

that the figure’s attitude would be maternal?

??????????????????????Yet I watched

as she leaned,


and even hid her charges,

in case of harm.

Before this particular story

came to end,

I sensed that the motherly one

was becoming overwrought,

a bit bent out of shape by responsibility.

Not that she didn’t continue to do her best.


So I knew when the story must reach its completion.

The pears must return to their natural state,

as food to be placed in the fridge

for eventual consumption.

Perhaps a salad of arugula, walnuts, pears

and Wensleydale cheese…

Oh dear…

As for the sculpture,

having played her part

as model for an avid photographer…

and mother to pears,

She was carried carefully back to

her place on a shelf,

alone with her memories,

but strong in her solitude.

Possibly thankful for the experience

of mothering pears…

and of letting them go.



November 17, 2012

This is an old clay sculpture, made in the eighties when I first began to sculpt. It is made of a heavily grogged clay, alloted to me by my cousins at Shearwater Pottery (to play with). Well, I played more and more, and a few years later I had my own kiln and was ordering clay, still with grog content but of a finer sort. I do have affection for my older pieces. Those that havn’t been sold or given away still grace my present environment. This one sits on a beam in the entranceway to my home. She is not pristine and you might detect scraps of spiderweb.

I do see her as I come and go, appreciate her graceful form against the light. She seems to belong where she is. But for the most part, she is simply there, basically forgotten except as a sculpture given to my mother on some birthday many years ago. My mother is gone, and this rather Grecian dancer has been relegated to the catagory of older art, done before skills were refined, somewhat rough.

Last week – before taking the Canon S-100 back to Best Buy (It had a couple of defects that couldn’t be overlooked.) – I decided to shoot a few more photos, just around the house: a farewell gesture, so to speak. I decided to go for the art that sits or hangs around my space mostly taken for granted. I began with the Grecian dancer and went from there. She is my favorite. What I found when I downloaded the photos onto my computer and began to “play” with the images was that the art of photography could make new the orginal artwork, even restore it to a special place in my heart. As I looked at the pieces in a new light, perhaps in a new form, a sweet wave of love and thankfulness radiated out toward the object of my attention. A spark of excitement was ignited and as I celebrated where I had been, I was also happy for where I am, hopeful for where I might go. I could see that along my path I have left markers that I might find my way.