How old are the earth’s mountains?1 Is clay in the ground and on the earth’s surfaces an ancient outcome of transforming mountains?2 How old is clay? What is the life-time of a human being?
This piece, and others in the same vein, are simple physical metaphors. During the time I was working with this process, I had fantastic learning adventures: physical energy, rampant imagination, emotional/visual feedback without language or forward-looking ideas but still a sense of direction. Broad daylight, clear days, dense mist — all at once.. Each undertaking started with a bung of clay, about 10 kg. I extended it by pulling it across canvas, I whacked it at all angles, randomly at first, with a sharp edged 2 inch by 2 inch piece of wood; then I pulled it and stretched it, then plunked it on its end to compress it; then gently twisted and curved it to show the inherent bend-pull in human aging and an embryonic memory. Super slow drying — it is a solid, quite thick chunk of clay. Super slow firing to cone 6.
1 https://www.britannica.com/video/143172/mountains-slopes-Old : 2 Pottery Analysis, 2nd Edition, Prudence M. Rice, 2015
2. coral mountain
This piece is a simple physical metaphor: super slow firing. This particular piece started with a bung of clay, about 10 kg. I extended it by pulling across canvas, I whacked it at all angles, randomly at first, with a sharp edged 2″X2″ piece of wood; then I pulled it and rolled it into a cone-like structure, then dropped it on its end to compress it. Drying — it is a solid, quite thick chunk of clay. Extremely slow firing.
In the 21st century, we live with the idea that life appeared on earth partway through earth’s natural history — from the non-life state which preceded it. We boldly assert that all of nature is fundamentally physical. It is matter and therewith has mass, constituted it seems, by energy which does not travel at the speed of light (more slowly by quite a bit it seems). Deep down, our advanced physicists tell us, mass is all basically the same structure (go have fun with what is called ‘the standard model’). Life and non-life, the same? Puzzle number Zn; Z to the power of n. Maybe, Nz : conventions, all!
tall fat: solid piece of mid-range porcelain (silica sand grog), 75 cm high, once-fired, slow cone 6 oxidation
This piece started with a bung of mid-range porcelain, about 10 kg. I extended it by dramatically stretching it as a longish rectangular bung, teasing it across canvas; then I whacked it at all angles, with a sharp edged 2″X2″ piece of wood; then I rolled it into a roundish tube and slightly thinner at one end; then set it firmly on one end to compress and slightly distort it. Super slow drying — it is a solid, quite thick chunk of clay. Very slow firing.
trinity: 65 cm high 3 bonded clays, hint of fine washed wood ash, sprinkled on one side, once-fired, cone 6 oxidation
Not the divine trinity of course, but one brought to be from the mud residue of earth’s ancient mountains, refined and processed by human intervention: grogged porcelain, beige stoneware and iron-laden stoneware. Melded together by simple, forceful, layering. Same stretching, whacking, bending, plunking process as already noted above.
5. mesa: holding on for dear life
6. nest: is the mountain a volcano – do we want a path to its crest?
7. stress: is there ever not?
8. garden lava: creative drift
When we walk into the backyard garden (it’s actually Ursula’s creation), there is what I call a lava extrusion, a white-ish, pale structure on the left: I call it a small facet of life’s creative drift. Opposite, on the right, its counterpart is dark, undulating and squeezed out of the funnel by the earth’s heat. This piece also is of the earth’s creative drift.
The structures are of course kéramos – the fired stuff.
The pale one is unglazed; the dark one glazed with stains and a black and a satiny finish: all applied by hand, sponge and brush.
The pieces are solid which means they are 7-9 inches thick at the base (20-24 cm). They weigh about 10- 12 kilos each.
These two are part of several series I made. I had a great deal of fun. My main shaping tool was a sharp edged 2 x 4. My hands, the second device. These are my “whacked” pieces, a very intense, physical, slightly agitating process — I had a wonderful time.
Vulcan I and Vulcan II are nests for granite and marble eggs.