This piece was great fun to create, though it did not survive the firing process. The sculptures that I made by building with soft coils of clay were very prone to crack and separate between the coils. That, I didn’t mind. I heated solder until it melted and let it run down a slope made of a metal panel to form irregular and various-sized silver beads, about the shape of fresh water pearls. With dark gray mortar and the silver beads, I filled the cracks to accentuate the flaws. It was not always possible, however.
This piece, which was built up in coils that swirled in figure 8s, at times joining columns together, at others letting them grow independently, cracked along the coil lines, as expected. It also cracked vertically, which was not something that I could remedy in a way that pleased me.
I should have anticipated the failure. There were too many pressure points and areas where the clay would heat or cool (thus expand and contract) at different rates in the kiln. It was so fragile throughout the many weeks I worked to build it, that it could not be lifted from the wood panel (covered with a layer of fabric, so that the sculpture could shrink as it dried) that I built it on. It was moved into the kiln on that board. On the second day – of a five day firing process – when the heat was sufficient to turn the support board to ash, the sculpture would have to endure settling. Often the clay is in a flux state, and that can happen without incident.
Sometimes everything works out just as it should. This time, it didn’t. With clay work, what you take away from a failure is the experience of all the steps along the way, and knowledge gleaned from what went right, and what went wrong.
I so remember these.
And it was a wonderful experience. Thanks for sharing with us!
Thank you, Chris! Yes, the experience was most important…the finished product – even when it turns out perfectly – is just a by-product of that effort.
Hi Cindy – Something so fascinating – even in its making – isn’t a failure. Just to conceive and to test such a feat seems an achievement to me – here’s to your next endeaour
Thank you, Chas, for this kind insight!
you are amazing, amiga! it would be so great to have you in this area of the neighborhood so i could drop in and be inspired by your multi-talented energies!
Oh, Lisa, you are too kind! So wonderful to see you…hope all is well!
hey in another few months, i might be online more often! more on that very soon!
Hope you keep trying – very very unique piece that deserves to be seen by others. Just on the web it was impressive.