White earthenware clay


7.4 x 10.2 x 5.5 cm

Practicing figure 1
Practicing figure 2

Clay is hard. Clay is almost too hard to work with. For a long time, I could not forgive clay after this artwork. When I made this sculpture, I made another one that was slightly larger – 14.5cm rather than the 10.2cm this one is. Apparently, that makes ALL the difference. My first one managed to break down my self-confidence, as beforehand I had thought “hey, I’m not incompetent at clay, I’m sure it’ll be fine!” so young, so naïve. Because clay is soft and malleable. That’s the point! I hear you say. But! There’s such a thing as too malleable. From here, I shall tell a tale of tragedy.

It had started off so well. I was proud of my sculpture! It wasn’t perfect, but it was better than what I was expecting to be able to pull off. I knew what I was capable of, or so I thought. At this point I’d only worked on the front. I took my eyes off the front, thinking ah yes, this is done, now I shall develop up the back of my sculpture. This, I had trouble with. It was a while before I turned my sculpture around again.

And that’s when I saw it – SHOCK. HORROR. The whole thing had changed into a disproportionate monster. I’d used too much pressure when working on the back of the sculpture, so now it was arching its back to a ridiculous extent. Not only that, but things had moved positions. There was an awful asymmetry about it. HOW WAS I SUPPOSED TO FIX IT? My competence felt like it had deflated. My ego? Bruised.

This is a cautionary tale. Don’t let yourself fixate on one spot, don’t let yourself forget about the rest of the sculpture. Don’t do what I did.

However, the second sculpture (the one in the photos), was made right after the tragic one, so what I did right was:
– Not over working it and fixating on one spot,
– Making sure it all looked fine all the time,
– Made it smaller to make it more manageable
– Tried keeping it simple and making sure nothing gets too thin (otherwise things break off or get out of proportion).

Also, little bits of terracotta got onto my sculpture, so consider them as little freckles and definitely not as an accident.