|Coil Pot 1|
For the past several years I have been mostly doing slab work. The Edgy bowls are rolled slabs first, the cups, plates and plaques also start out as slabs. But when I squeezed a new bag of red clay as I was cleaning the studio, it said to me, "coil."
I wanted to make sculpture to enter into the upcoming Ellarslie Open, and that's why I'd bought the red clay. It is beautiful without glaze. When I felt the plasticity of the clay through that bag, I stopped in my tracks and began to work immediately.
|Coil pot 1 - other side|
What I had in mind was a pot that would have creatures, perhaps mythical, flying out of the surface of the pot. It would be more sculpture than pot, the pot being more a base for the figures.
I am an eager builder. Like a beaver I want to keep working on my construction until exhaustion sets in. On each pot, the ballooning sides began to sag as I added coils before the lower layers were firm enough. I was going too fast. What I found speeded up the process was to build the pot while the kiln was firing or cooling. That way I didn't have to wait hours in between coils The clay set up quickly and I had the warmth of a beach resort in the middle of February, right in my backyard.
|Coil Pot 2|
I built three coil pots in quick succession and added to each sculpted animals. They are predators and prey, and are an expression of the perilousness and fragility of life. We are both predator and prey at different times in our lives, just like other animals. I think of the cat as Donald Trump, and I and my artistic, gentle friends are the fleeing birds. You can see all kinds of metaphors in the relationship of prey and predator, so universal is the meaning.
I can only enter two sculptures in the Ellarslie show. The decision about which two to enter was made for me when I found on opening the kiln that one pot was cracked.
|Coil Pot 3 with its gaping crack|
I had subjected the owl and mouse pot to a second firing to put clear glaze on the eyes and some white on the owl's wings.
I don't know, and perhaps never will, but I have some epoxy I'm going to fill the crack with. It will be fine.
I, however, am suffering the consequences of so much clay squeezing and coiling. My left hand has a bad case of carpal tunnel just like my right hand. The right hand was getting better, but I spared it by giving the left hand more work. A lesson learned. Don't take your body for granted by asking it to do marathons of one activity. Now I am on forced break, thinking what to do with 50 pounds of brown hazelnut clay.