For me, the act of creating in stone or clay is to momentarily enter a world imbued with something sinuous with life; as if for a suspended time I can reach in and pull some of that essence onto the podium. If I stay present enough, the clay or stone becomes saturated with the stuff of that river and is transformed into an emotion in physical form.
When I approach clay, I have no preconceived idea of what will be made. It is a miraculous process to watch the emergence of a face infused with emotion that might appear then vanish for the sake of the piece as a whole. Or to witness the sleight of a hand or the gesture of a hip that speaks volumes about the essence of the piece. I have been trained in anatomy and composition and use this knowledge in working the clay, but only as handmaidens to the intuitive process. It is in this way that I use ceramic sculptures as a journal, because unfailingly, they inform me of my feelings much more quickly and succinctly than the ever protective conscious mind. If I come to it honestly, the clay never lies and never hides the truth.
… there is a moment in the act of creating in either medium where I feel with absolute clarity that the veil is lifted and I am in the presence of more than myself.
Stone is also an intuitive process , but unlike clay, its birth has its finished stages already in mind. Initially the challenge is to visualize with my mind’s eye the living thing inside. From the first cut into that stone until the last polish, it is a lesson in trust; trust that I can keep focused on what is wanting to come forth, trust that every time that I take stone away, that it is the right amount or the correct placement. Because there is no going back once the decision is made. Some of my greatest challenges, lessons and feelings of accomplishment come from this most complex of mediums. It is truly worth all of the hours, the dust and difficulty involved with working in stone, when at last, I come to the final polish and have faith that I’ve created the sculpture as it was meant to be.
Finally, there is a moment in the act of creating in either medium where I feel with absolute clarity that the veil is lifted and I am in the presence of more than myself. It is this moment that I covet, that I continue to come back to, afraid it won’t be there, afraid I’ve used up all my dumb luck, afraid I’ll be busted for trespassing onto sacred ground. But I come back and if I am present enough, hungry enough, open enough, she lets me in and I feast.