Friday, March 19, 2010

New Old Jane...a retrospective of ceramics - The Crone Affair

Sometime in the mid 70's I took a ceramics class at my old high school. I got hooked. I think it was the punching and slamming of the clay that attracted me at first. A good release for the pent up anger occasioned by a looming divorce. It was the first of several short courses I dabbled in. And the first of several short marriages!!!

Mostly I tried to get access to a studio where I could fiddle around on my own and get things fired. That was my first mistake. I never really learned how to do it properly and often have "kiln accidents" that a more knowledgeable person would probably avoid.  Due to the disappointment occasioned by the last accident several years ago I have not picked up a lump of clay since.
I had spent almost a month painstakingly sculpting an old lady and I was very happy with the results. She was to join my previously sculpted mother and child that sit on a small garden fountain. In winter they adorn this small indoor water feature. In summer they sit near my back porch on this one.

The addition of the elderly woman would form the trilogy that is significant to Pagans. The Maiden, the Mother, and the Crone represent not only the three phases or seasons of life, but also the three aspects of the Goddess.
I ever so carefully set her aside and covered her with a vented plastic bag that would allow the clay to dry slowly. Then over the space of a week or two I gradually exposed more of her to the air till finally she was dry enough to fire in the kiln without explodiing.

The bisque firing went well.  I applied some crackle glaze to match the other two sculptures and fired her again. The glaze had disappeared from all of the items in the kiln. WTF???? Had I forgotten to glaze them?

I should have known something was very wrong then but I tried again and this time her legs broke off and she slumped over on to her elbow.

I think that the element in the kiln is over heating and failing to shut off and thus it burned the glaze off the
sculpture and also caused the clay to become molten and slump over.  She sits...or rather leans over, looking down scornfully from a shelf, to mock my lack of expertise.
I took such care with her tiny feet. DAMMIT!!!

See how her right arm stretched out really thin at the elbow as she listed over to one side? She is perhaps the last ceramic clay sculpture I may ever make but  time may heal the psychic wounds.

I do miss working in clay as it is useful for it's strength and durability, when done right!

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