Friday, September 30, 2016

Burnt Offerings--Playing With Fire

 After what feels like fumbling around forever to find a direction that fully engages me I am excited by my recent pit fired sculptures.  They are inspired by my own encounters with animals and are  grounded in the writings of  Paul Shepard, noted anthropologist, ecologist and author of The Others, Coming Home to The Pleistocene, and many other thought provoking books.  I have been exploring animal imagery for the past several years and have gone from the approachable, cuter figure to these somewhat mysterious figures.  I am hoping to create that feeling of heightened awareness combined with a little fear and wonder that I have when I come face to face with an animal.  Shepard argues that without our relationship to The Others we are not fully human.  With the "Disneyfication" of animals making all animals cute and friendly we deny them their mysterious power and a knowledge that is greater than ours in many ways.  Without recognizing the wild in animals we deny our own primitive and wild nature.
Song Dogs
 The process of creating these animals is exciting as the action of the fire on the bisqued clay is completely out of my control and yields amazing results. The pieces are buried in layers of sawdust, newspaper, and branches that I collect from our woods. Once the fire is lit the pit is covered and burns all day and night. In the morning I remove the cover and see what magic the fire has worked. It is always exciting to brush the ashes away and see the patterns on the clay.