The idea of making a boat menorah just came to me, it felt easy. I have been into making finely detailed porcelain flowers lately and you know my interest in boats as metaphor for so many ideas, so this was bound to happen. It’s an ongoing conversation I have been having with my clay. I can’t really explain why this owl is here other than to witness the of lighting of the candles.
I’ve been making octopuses from this amazingly translucent Canadian Polar Ice porcelain. They are as white as white can be. But a person needs to branch out and explore and a very Black clay has been calling me. Octopuses in black? Yes, well … yes.
hush … here comes 2 now This one is so curious and comes right up to me.
We have a good long stare at each other,
eye to eye.
Then she slides away and she’s gone.
Oh wait here comes another! Be very still now … This one is pretty brave, right away she comes right up to me a closer look at me. Am I a friend or a foe or just dinner?
These two recently became Pals. They got together in the kiln. You might be familiar with the hottest hang out in town. Go back a few posts to see some of the eye brow raising stuff that goes on in there. Anyway, since these curly tops met up there has been endless ponderings on any number of things. I can almost hear their musings ….
… and I quote ~Sitting up with weight on bottom, forelegs stretched, ears up and looking alert – the “classic” rabbit pose Your rabbit is looking around to see what’s going on, usually thinking about what to do next and is often a prelude to grooming. It may be rocking slightly due to its weight being balanced on its four feet close together – Sitting up on hind legs with ears up and nose pointed up Wild rabbits do this just to get a better view and have a look around for possible danger. Domestic rabbits are more likely to be requesting food that you are holding or trying to get your attention.
Sitting with weight on bottom, washing face with front feet, pulling ears down to lick them, twisting around to groom back and sides No prizes for this one – your rabbit is grooming itself – Ear positions
If a rabbit points its ears forward it is curious about something. If it puts them straight up it is alarmed and trying to listen better. If it folds them flat on its back it is frightened and trying to make itself inconspicuous.
Known to be shy, these two hardly represent their species. They crawled all over each other to get in the picture. Of course it did cross my mind to wonder if they bite! but then a bug flew at the window and I was history … shy but with a limited attention span would be my opinion
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.
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 ~