All very sweet and innocent …. but I’ve learned not to be taken in by such graceful appearances. Under immense white hot heat in the kiln, tempers fly!
Looks are given
Moves are made
a Battle ensues
It seems there is always someone who will take a bully down
I have been happily working with white porcelain clay for a long time now but every now and then I catch myself looking longingly at my box of Midnight black clay. It’s pretty messy stuff and I have to wear surgical gloves whie I work with it because it contains manganese … a toxic chemical that penetrates skin, so it’s a real bad-ass clay.
It makes a mean mud pie mess ~
It is So fun
and such a relief from my tidy contained white clay workings.
Don’t get me wrong, I am still enchanted with white porcelain but such a drastic change stirs my pot and is a welcome disruption. The challenge is to keep these two siblings apart so I can work in peace. I know they will play together in a piece one day soon. ~ I can already see it ~
I keep making Octopuses, I just can’t help it.
I go to make an elephant and the trunk makes me think
I would like to be making an Octopus right now. Then the poor elephant has heard my thoughts … well, is my thoughts, and the trunk comes out a bit too long and octopus-like.
well … they are kind of similar ..
this one came out of the kiln with an arm pointing to it’s eye like a gangster would do.
“I’m watching You!”
Of course getting the “eye” might not be to me, it could be to
some shenanigans going on in the heat of the kiln.
“I’m watching You!”
like in the Mermaid and the Octopus moment. When I made them, their hands were a breath away from touching, then as they dried, Octopus kept raising her arm higher, and who knows where those arms went while in the kiln, but this is how they finished.
Coming down for another touch , moving away or somewhere in between?
I’ll never know
this is what I love about all this, its unpredictably.
I got the octopus love bad. I see them every where. I can feel them. I even feel my arms and legs fluidly spiraling when I practice tai chi. Strong and so soft…. at least I aim for that.
I made this last night. The mermaid’s hands were tantalizing close to touching the octopus’s arm but as it was drying their touch moved from almost to not quite. I know when they are red hot in the kiln they will finally decide how to connect…. or not. It will be out of my hands.
and I like that.
I like that when I set up a connection in one of my bowls, the drying and firing process has the final say. Once two porcelain elephants placed together in the kiln found each other’s trunks and they spiraled around in the red heat. As they cooled they became inseparable.
I wonder why this little bumble bes saw fit to land here? Seems a lot of serendipity goes on when I make elephants. Who would have thought a bumble bee would feel so safe among a herd of elephants? It stayed for quite a while.
But back to seeing octopuses everywhere… I’ll fire these next week. I imagine that their arms will wave and dance all around in the kiln and come out different. Their arms are out of my hands. And stay tuned for the surprise ending of the love story between the mermaid and octopus….
These are not octopuses. They are images of our brain neurons! Maybe octopuses are the brain neurons of the sea…. Octopuses are so Mind blowing!
Here are a few pieces that have gone to good homes this week ~
A Menorah specially made for a wedding gift.
And a pitcher. All porcelain, which I still love working with … And today I had the idea to make Octopus Imaginaries. I am so into them these days. Here’s a look at more of my opcopus explorations so far.
Yarn bowls, because I love to knit too.
Into the land of Octopus. I just stopped into the bookstore for a quick look when this title caught my eye. No, it was bigger than that. It grabbed me and jumbled me until I decided that I needed to take this home with me.
I somehow knew the Octopus and I had things to talk about. I went back to the studio and had an Octopus on a little bowl before lunch time.
And today they have found their way up onto my porcelain yarn bowls. I am struck by their impossible grace. I don’t think I could even make an awkward octopus. Their tenicles just seem to flow as if they are in the water where they really belong.
They are so flexible they can slip through a tiny hole yet have a terrorizing and easy strength. Tai chi in water. Ah yes. See? Octopus is already teaching me new things. I just know we will become good friends. And I haven’t even started to read thie book yet.
Inspiration can come from anywhere and sometimes it’s just a matter of saying Yes. I have made Elephants because of my 2 friends’ love of them, powerful enough to create a touring storytelling show about them called Hidden Elephant, and I have made Imaginaries because of my love of creating a lovable figure without convention. But I hadn’t imagined Monkeys. They were requested in celebration of this Year of the Monkey.
So I got to work. It took a while to find Monkey in my fingers and in my my clay. Years ago I read the classic Chinese story of Dear Monkey, a story about the mischievous monkey king given the task of guarding the immortal Peach Orchard, he caused a great upset with the Immortals of course and had many other astonishing adventures. It’s a fantastic read.
One can not see a monkey the same way again after that book.The Yang style Tai Chi Sword form has the most beautiful titles for each position ~
The wild horse jumps the ravine
Follow the currant, push the boat
Black dragon twists around the column and
White Ape Presents Fruit
performed by master Yang Jun, nephew of Yang Zhen Duo(son of Yang Cheng Fu)
I know what it feels like to be that white ape presenting fruit, it’s a simple and straight forward move in its earthly complexity. I always imagine presenting a peach, probably because of the story, and I learned that the Peach symbolizes Immortality. I see this Monkey in my mind as I play the sword.
So I drew on what I understood.and Monkey came to me
last Friday I spent all day making iLuminaries, keepers of light.
I have become fascinated with the translucence and elasticity of a special kind of porcelain. It is a pure, warm, alive white. And when lit with a candle inside they turn golden.
As usual I discovered these while just playing around with an idea. I am reading, with a wonder and fascination I cannot explain, Edmond De Waal’s new book on porcelain called The White Road. He writes of his quiet yet passionate journey into the long history of porcelain. White Gold. He talks of it’s qualities of translucence and openess and its ability to maintain its strength when stretched out to its thinnest limits, there, light can pour in and out. I know … this sounds like a life lesson ~
… and who doesn’t need a little Light when the sun goes down ~
What do you do when you find yourself living on a rare jewel of a giving yet struggling planet out in the Universe and you realize that we are all together … alone?
you build Life Boats.
You pack your essential supplies
Connection – Communication – Compassion
and then you
Circle around Listening and Learning
~ as Playfully as you can ~
I have left this new Life Boat at my studio to dry at a snails pace for a few weeks. A large porcelain piece like this tend to encourage tiny cracks here and there so I put Time in charge to be on the look out for any signs of danger.There are lots of backing and forthing going on here, I don’t know even the half of it ~
This one has 3 portague figures carrying a life-canoe.
Yes, those are cowboy boots. There’s a story here.
I always start with an owl at the helm and it goes on from there.
~ to be continued ~
The Elephants are traveling, single file, right into a soft cushioned box bound for SaltSpring Island BC
after much wandering, they will be happy to be found and taken to a loving home.
They all know they will be admired
There is magic to be discovered with these beings
~ light and shadows, candlelight and flowers ~
I conjured up the Spinster years ago. She helped me find my own way…. Of course I had to make it a creative and whimsical journey. So here she is ~ The Spinster ~ She Flies She Fights She knows her Rights!
©1982 Nancy Walker (All rights reserved)
I’ve been going through my old files, so old, they are PAPER! So much paper of bits and pieces and OH! How and Why did I collect so much!? It’s kind of amazing and humbling at the same time. I have recycled MOUNTAINS of paper …. and it feels … GREAT!
I saved these for you
a little turtle named Tortallini
to a kiln full of Imaginaries
I’m thinking that this specimen is going to be 2 dresses in one. See how Great this looks Inside out?! If I am feeling especially creative and funky, I can just wear it Inside Out and if I happen to slip it on the ‘wrong’ way one sleepy morning, no matter, what the heck!In one of Josh Bennett’s knitting classs at my first Vogue Knit Live conference, he talked about a sweater he designed with a beautiful fair isle collar knitted inside out … intentionally! Being the sort to like that kind of knitting blasphemy, I took to that idea …
Ya! Why Not I say!
This is not to say that the Front side is absolutely Glorious!
I will be wearing it the ‘correct’ way a lot I imagine
Knitting slows me down in a good way … so I say ~
Slow Down and Knit
Look at things Inside Out
I’ve been busy in my clay studio making Imaginaries. They are little fine porcelain creatures that come right out from my imagination straight into being
Some are always ready to catch a ball or
ready to run and greet you at the door after your long day
Some are peaceful
(that little guy in the background is one of those always ready to chase a bird or is he just watching some one climbing a tree?)
They are little Connectors.
Each one has a story to tell. I quietly listen and search as they take shape and form through my fingers and understandings. They don’t leave my hands until I feel a connection with them, until I have found their story. This interaction assures the possibility of someone else making a connection and hearing a story too, of their own making.
That’s the plan anyway.
It might even be a small story like this one ~
“and … I’m just wondering if you you might perchance have a yummy delicious little sweet for me in your pocket? I do so love persimmons.”
See what I mean? They are always chatting me up.