Before I ever created a sculpture inspired by my trip to India, something a friend said got me to thinking in a different direction. Her child is nearly out of college now, and in reminiscing about his childhood, she said “I’ve discovered that I really enjoyed being a mother”. Not just holding an infant, but enjoying watching her child grow. That inspired this piece called “Simple Joy”. It will be on exhibit in the Gallery at Studio Channel Islands Art Center during the show titled “ About Women”. Reception is May 4th from 4 – 6 pm.
The following photos show the process I used for the patina. The first shows the terra cotta piece ready to be fired. The little maquette is visible just behind it. After firing and putting a sealer on it, the first coat of paint is gold. Next comes a thin coat of burnt umber, followed by a watery mix of hookers green and white. And finally brown and black shoe polish is lightly brushed over the whole piece.
Returning from a pilgrimage to India I’ve been inspired by some of the images of women I saw: women in saris or tunics, women carrying children, or baskets; or just women going about the business of living. I’ve taken a bit of a hiatus from sculpting , but some of these images may actually inspire me to get my hands back in the clay. This photograph in particular keeps coming into my head. She could become quite an interesting sculpture, with her child on her lap.
Last week a friend shared with me that she is going through a second bout with breast cancer. As she and her husband waited at the Norris Cancer Center they admired a sculpture of a single-breasted woman holding her bow at her side. It seemed to them that it was a comforting and hopeful piece in the room where so many women with breast cancer wait. Looking more closely they saw that it was titled “Triumphant Warrior, A Tribute To Breast Cancer Survivors”, and that the sculptor was me!! I don’t know for sure who donated it to the Center.
The “Triumphant Warrior” represents the Amazon women who were said to have cut off a breast in order to use their bows and arrows more effectively. And she has successfully fought her battle so her bow is at her side.
There were only five editions of that bronze piece. The mold is gone now, so those five are very special.
It’s been fun getting comments from so many of you who have seen the show at Fox Fine Jewelry! I’m always glad to hear that someone recognizes my work, and enjoys it. Just this week a friend from Ojai, and the young man who washes windows for me, each said they had recognized my “uppity women” in the window at Fox!
And it continues to be good for me when I get to spend time in my Studio. Right now I have two pieces waiting to be fired, and two more maquettes (studies for a bigger piece), waiting for me to see if they really want to be bigger or not. Sometimes those ladies seem to have a mind of their own!
I started using a new terra cotta clay this week, one with a little less grog in it, so it could be a little smoother. I’m anxious to see how it fires. And I continue to try to incorporate some of the things I learned in the three day workshop in Sedona a few months ago.
How nice it was to see some of you at Fox Fine Jewelry last Saturday for the opening of “Land Shapes”. It was a happy crowd, enjoying art, friends, jewelry, and even some great viola music! I was especially pleased to see friends from Camarillo and Ojai. My next show will open in Thousand Oaks at Hillcrest Center for the Arts in Thousand Oaks. .
Here’s a picture of me holding “Big Mama” before the show.
It feels so good to have the clay finally begin to feel good in my hands again.
“Dancing in the Sunshine”, currently in the “Land Shapes” show at Fox Fine Jewelry in Ventura, was the first ‘happy’ piece during the past year. Then a trip to Sedona to take a sculpture class encouraged me to try a few new techniques, sort of gave me a new incentive. So now I let the clay get a little firmer, use larger slabs, and make liberal use of the paddle! Small things, but it makes me work differently, and hopefully, better and happier. “Big Mama” and “Twinkle Toes” are the direct result of a couple of new techniques, and a happier me. (The good news is that “Big Mama” has sold!)
After years as a mother, teacher, and politician, working to shape lives and county policies, I have at last found time to shape clay.
Working in clay was a “pre-politics” hobby, which has now turned into a full-time passion. Influenced by the works of Mexican sculptor Francisco Zuniga and Italian sculptor Felice Vatteroni, I have found myself creating female forms: small, large, happy, sad, strong, voluptuous, heroic, resigned, young, old. The clay seems to lend itself to these expressions. There is a great deal of satisfaction in shaping these women and their feelings.
It is the tactile process, the feeling of the clay being molded in my hands that excites me; I hope your response will be to want to feel these pieces, to touch them, and experience what they can mean to you.